Jobs, who has suffered from pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant in 2009, has looked increasingly frail in his cultlike appearances in front of Apple fans to introduce new products, but he did not explicitly indicate in a letter to the company’s board and its customers whether his health was failing.
“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,” wrote Jobs, who has been on a health leave of absence since January. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”
Although not entirely unexpected given the grave nature of his previous illnesses — he had surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 — Jobs’s resignation ends one of the most extraordinary runs in business history. This month, Apple briefly became the most valuable company in the world, surpassing oil giant Exxon Mobil.
Jobs has been replaced by Tim Cook, his longtime No. 2 and the company’s chief operating officer. Cook has run Apple’s day-to-day operations during Jobs’s health-related absences. Jobs will be chairman of the board.
Apple shares declined Thursday morning in response to the news even though Jobs will remain active in the company’s affairs as board chairman. As Adam Santariano of Bloomberg News explained
Apple stocks took a hit on the news that its visionary chief executive, Steve Jobs, is scaling back his role at the company. Jobs, 56, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down after 14 years as Apple’s chief executive, though he will continue as the company’s chairman.
Around 11:30 a.m., Apple stock was down 5.5 percent, trading at $370.63 per share, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was down about 1 percent in late-morning trading. However, Apple competitor Google was trading for about $524 per share, up 1 percent.
Jobs, who is closely identified with the company and whose health has had a clear effect on Apple stock in the past, said Wednesday that he could “no longer meet my duties and expectations” as Apple’s chief.
When Jobs announced his latest medical leave in January, shares fell nearly 4 percent in morning trading. But shares have risen rapidly over the past year, with Apple briefly surpassing Exxon Mobil in value this month.
Bloomberg reported that the S&P fell $52 billion before the market opened after Jobs announced his decision following the markets’ close Wednesday.
Many analysts believe that while Jobs has left his role as CEO, he will still provide the innovative influence that made Apple into an industry leader. As columnist Joshua Topolsky opined