As we know from a short letter addressed to the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community yesterday, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple. As per Steve’s recommendation, the Apple board appointed COO Tim Cook as CEO.
Considering that Cook filled in for Jobs during previous medical leaves including the one this year, the move to appoint Cook as successor wasn’t unexpected. As requested, Apple also elected Jobs as Chairman of the Board and will remain with Apple in that capacity, effective immediately. Cook will also join the Board.
“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 judgment in everything he does.”
In his resignation letter Jobs 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.”
Despite Steve’s health problems over the past few years, I have to admit to being taken back a bit by his resignation last night.
CEOs resign everyday, and I mostly don’t care, why was this announcement different? I’ve had a day to think about it and believe the main reason is that Jobs was more than CEO at Apple. I’ve always viewed Jobs as an innovator, a risk taker that has had a tremendous amount of influence over many of the technology products that I use everyday.
In the short-term, shares of Apple, Inc. fell slightly on the news of Jobs resignation, down 1.8% from Wednesdays closing price as of this writing. The more important question is how will Steve’s resignation affect Apple going forward.
Jobs is on my shortlist of most influential technology visionaries in my lifetime along with Bill Gates (Microsoft), Sergey Brin, Larry Page (Google), Shawn Fanning (Napster), and Martin Cooper (Motorola patent for first cell-phone).
Steve was involved in every aspect of Apple, product decisions, marketing, as well as Apples chief negotiator (carriers, studios, publishers etc.). It’s hard to imagine that Apple won’t change in the absence of his day-to-day leadership.
So the question for Apple maybe “What would Steve do?” Luckily for them and us, he is still available to provide an answer!