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Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

August 25, 2011

By Colin Mann

In a move that has shocked the technology world, co-founder Steve Jobs has resigned as Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, with the company’s Board naming Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.

His relinquishing of daily control had been widely anticipated since he took an extended medical leave earlier this year. Jobs, 56, had a liver transplant two years ago and underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer seven years ago.

In a letter to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community, Jobs said: “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.”

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple’s Board. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgement in everything he does.”

As COO, Cook was previously responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships, ensuring flexibility in response to an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Apple shares dropped in after-hours trading by nearly $20, or about five per cent, immediately after the news broke.

Investors have long worried that it could be impossible to replace Jobs’ intuitive ability to anticipate technology trends and develop products that resonate with consumers.

“He’s the head visionary,” said Jeffrey Fidacaro, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group. “Can you replace his vision, his passion for the products, his rigour in the day-to-day operations? That’s going to be hard, it’s undeniable.”

“He has this higher level of mind that he can see the future clearly in a way that few people can. That rubs off on people,” said Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. “But Apple’s a lot of people. And in the meantime, he’ll still be there, still watching over it and within reach if needed.”

Jobs and Wozniak financed the original Apple Computer with $1,300 they raised from the sale of Jobs’ Volkswagen microbus and Wozniak’s Hewlett-Packard Co. scientific calculator. They built their first machines in Jobs’ family garage in 1976.

Apple’s stock price hit $403.41 in July — a near-60 per cent gain from a year earlier — after the company released better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. That put Apple’s market value at $374 billion, briefly toppling Exxon Mobil Corp. as the world’s most valuable firm. A decade earlier the stock traded at $10.

On Wednesday, Apple’s shares rose $2.58 to $376.18. They fell to about $356 in after-hours trading.

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