Unfortunately that day has come, says Fortune’s CEO of the decade
Co-founder of the world’s No.1 technology company Apple, Steve Jobs, has announced his resignation.
Jobs said that he would no longer work as the CEO of the company he founded with Steve Wozniak in 1976. Jobs said that he would like to continue as chairman and asked the board to name chief operating officer Tim Cook as his successor.
Steve wrote in a letter to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Jobs has been plagued by ill health in recent years. It was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and, following dramatic weight loss, it was announced in January 2009 that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance.
Shortly after this it was announced Jobs would take a six-month leave of absence. After his return to the top chair at Apple it was revealed he had undergone a liver transplant.
His current leave of absence began earlier this year and no time frame was given for his return. He has made few public appearances since then, but was on stage to launch the latest versions of Apple’s hugely successful iPad tablet.
Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple has seen a steady but steep rise from 1997 to 2007, also known as the decade of Jobs. The company overtook both Microsoft and Google soon after. Earlier this month, Apple briefly surpassed ExxonMobil to become the world’s largest company by stock market value. The company’s growth surged with the launch of a series of ‘i’ products including iPad and iPhone.
In May this year, Jobs was the only computer engineer to feature in the top three engineering heroes selected by engineering undergraduates in the UK, in a survey by General Electric (GE).
From being a non-enrolled student at Reed College in Portland to the CEO of the most valuable brand in the world, the extreme highs and lows of Jobs’ story is an inspiration to many.
In 1976, Jobs, Steve Wozniack and others, created Apple. However, nine years later, in 1985, Jobs was voted off the board of his own company.
Jobs founded NeXT Computer and made it successful. In 1996, Apple bought Jobs’ company and got him back on the board. After that Jobs started a new line of products, the ‘i’ line, which pushed the company ahead of competition. The iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad all sold in huge numbers, helping the company to redefine the mobile phone, music and tablet computing markets.
Apple now owns 230 patents, and is the most valuable brand in the world with an 84% rise in its estimated value to $153bn according to latest rankings.
In May, a report by brands agency Millward Brown put Apple at the first rank of top 100 global brands, pushing behind Google which was the in the No.1 spot for four-years. Last year, Apple had edged past Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
Although the news may have come as a surprise, analysts believe Apple will not be too badly affected by Jobs’ departure. Writing on Twitter, Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, said: "Tim Cook has demonstrated during Jobs’ leaves of absence that he can provide the leadership that Apple needs to continue in its success."
"Apple is Steve Jobs’ life. Chairman role or not he will continue to be involved for as long as he can," she added. "Apple’s competitors would be fools for thinking that they can take advantage of Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO."
Her colleague Michael Gartenberg added: "Consumers buy products from Apple because they’re good products not because they’re from Steve Jobs. Mr. Jobs will continue to leave his mark on both the company and products even as he transfers the reins."