With a press release that just went out, Steve Jobs has announced he’s stepping down as CEO of Apple. Former COO Tim Cook will take the role of new CEO. Steve Jobs will stay involved as Chairman of the Board, and Tim Cook will obviously join the Board, too, effective immediately. In a letter to the Board and the Apple community, Steve Jobs explains he’s no longer capable of meeting his duties and expectations as Apple CEO, strongly recommending the Board to name Tim Cook as new CEO. Jobs also states “Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it”.
On January 17, Apple’s Board granted Steve Jobs a medical leave of absence, and the former CEO said he would remain involved with major strategic decisions, with Tim Cook filling in for day-to-day operations at Apple. Since then, Steve Jobs made two appearances at a media event in March and the WWDC ‘11 keynote to announce the iPad 2, iOS 5 and new iCloud features. Speculation has surrounded Steve Jobs’ health conditions since January, although the company preferred to keep such conditions private and out of the community and press daily rumors.
Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. He left the company in 1985, only to return from NeXT (another company he started) to Apple in 1997 and ignite the digital revolution by laying the groundwork of modern Mac OS X, iTunes and the iLife suite, and later the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. From Apple’s official bio of the Steve Jobs (which hasn’t been updated to reflect the new Chairman role yet):
Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple, which he co-founded in 1976. Apple is leading the consumer technology world with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, its family of iPod media players and iTunes media store, and its Mac computers and iLife and iWork application suites. Apple recently introduced the iPad, a breakthrough Internet and digital media device, plus the iBookstore, alongside iTunes and the App Store.
Steve also co-founded and was the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, which created some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time including Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars and Ratatouille. Pixar merged with The Walt Disney Company in 2006 and Steve now serves on Disney’s board of directors.
Steve grew up in the apricot orchards which later became known as Silicon Valley, and still lives there with his family.
Tim Cook, former COO of Apple, was responsible for the company’s worldwide sales and operations, reporting directly to Steve Jobs and managing Apple’s supply chain overseas. He’s regarded as the man who made possible building and shipping millions of iOS devices in four years thanks to exclusive supplier agreements and deals, including pre-payments to get stable access to important components such as the LCD displays used in Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Before joining Apple, Cook was vice president of Corporate Materials for Compaq and was responsible for procuring and managing all of Compaq’s product inventory. Previous to his work at Compaq, Cook was the chief operating officer of the Reseller Division at Intelligent Electronics.
Wikipedia provides a brief timeline of Cook’s roles at Apple:
- He initially served as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations
- In January 2007, Cook was promoted to COO.
- Cook served as Apple CEO for two months in 2004, when Steve Jobs was recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery. Cook also serves on the Board of directors of Nike.
- In 2009 Cook again served as Apple CEO for several months while Steve Jobs took a leave of absence for a liver transplant.
- In January 2011, Apple’s Board of Directors approved a third medical leave of absence, requested by Steve Jobs. During that time, Tim Cook was responsible for most of Apple’s day-to-day operations while CEO Steve Jobs made most major decisions.
Steve Jobs is widely regarded as the “visionary genius” behind many of Apple’s best inventions and innovations such as the refined graphical user interface, the Mac’s attention to detail and beautiful typography, and iOS’ focus on multitouch and natural user experience. To get an idea of the man behind the company, check out this collection of Steve Jobs quotes we collected two years ago.
Below, you’ll find the press releases from Apple, Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, and the video of the official “iCEO” announcement in 2000. As for our thoughts on Apple without Steve Jobs, we’ll take our time to elaborate on today’s (huge) news for the company, but overall, this article from January 2011 still holds true: During Steve’s Absence, Apple Will Be Just Fine.
Tim Cook Named CEO and Jobs Elected Chairman of the Board
CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.
“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’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.”
Jobs submitted his resignation to the Board today and strongly recommended that the Board implement its succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO.
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 designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
Letter from Steve Jobs
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.