All good things come to an end. This one should not have come unexpected, but undesired. Steve Jobs has stepped down as Apple’s CEO.
The company’s co-founder and spiritual leader has been battling health problems since 2004, and out of day to day operations since earlier this year. What does his departure mean for Apple’s millions of customers?
Good News And Bad News
The bad news is that Jobs will no longer manage the company’s day-to-day operations as CEO. That’s largely been the responsibility of COO Tim Cook for a few years.
The good news is that Steve may be gone, but not out. Here’s the full text of Steve’s letter to Apple’s board of directors:
August 24, 2011–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.
Apple’s board of directors pronounced Tim Cook as the CEO, effective immediately. There is little doubt that this succession has been planned for many months.
Board member Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech:
Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company. 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.
There’s more good news.
That means Jobs will stay on as an Apple employee and as Chairman. Gone? Not really. Out? No.
Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer nearly seven years ago, and went through a liver transplant just two years ago. Over the past three years, Jobs has looked thin, gaunt, and anything but the energetic Apple founder.
Tim Cook has served as the right hand man at Apple for over a dozen years, so he knows Jobs’ management style and the Apple culture as well as anyone.
Steve Jobs is simply moving upstairs. Not upstairs all the way. Not yet. But it’s official. Apple will be run by Cook with Jobs around, looking over his shoulder. In the short term, don’t expect much change.
What does it mean longer term? Cook is not a product visionary. He’s an execution guy of the highest caliber. As long as Steve Jobs is around, even in a muted role as Apple Chairman, Cook’s reign will be on solid footing.