Apple announced the resignation of Steve Jobs as chief executive of the company and named him chairman of the board. Long-time Apple executive Tim Cook will take over as CEO.
In a note to the board today, Jobs said that he could no longer meet his duties as the company's chief executive.
"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," he said in the note. "Unfortunately, that day has come."
Jobs' tenure at Apple has been in jeopardy since 2003 when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has taken more than one leave of absence from the company to deal with his health issues.
Jobs, 56, co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula in the late 1970s. After recruiting John Sculley from PepsiCo to be the company's CEO, he was pushed out in 1985. He came back to the company in 1996 after Apple bought NeXT, the software firm he founded. He served as Apple's CEO from 1997 until today.
Jobs had persuaded Sculley to come to Apple by asking him whether he wanted to sell "sugar water" for the rest of his life, or change the world. The two men were mutual admirers until Sculley and the Apple board forced Jobs out. In an email to FINS, Sculley wrote:
"Steve Jobs is the world's magic man. No compromises. His lifelong passion has been to change the world one person at a time. He did it with insanely great products that make us smile."
Since Jobs' return to the company, he has led it from one success to another, beginning with the iPod and the iTunes Store, which enabled consumers to easily buy and listen to music -- all through Apple products.
Since 1997, when Jobs took over as CEO, the company's stock price has gone from single digits to a peak of $404.50 this year, according to MarketWatch.
"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.
In addition to leading Apple to unprecedented heights, Jobs is famous for his sparse wardrobe of jeans and black mock turtle necks and his salary of $1 as CEO of the company. In the company's January 2011 proxy filing detailing Jobs' compensation, Apple confirmed Jobs was awarded no new stock in 2010 and that he had not cashed in any of his roughly 5.5 million shares since 1997.
In after-hours trading after the news broke, Apple shares dropped 5.3% to $356.48 by 7 p.m. New York time.
Cook, Jobs' chosen successor, is the chief operating officer of Apple and has been running the company on a day-to-day basis since Jobs took his latest leave of absence in January 2011.
According Cook's official biography on Apple's corporate website, he was vice president of corporate materials for Compaq before joining Apple in 1998. He previously spent 12 years at IBM and has an MBA from Duke University.
At Apple, as COO, Cook was responsible for the global sales and operations and management of the company's supply chain.
Here is the full text of Jobs' note to the board:
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.
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