Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave from Apple

| News

Apple announced on Monday that company CEO Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence to focus on his health. He plans, however, to continue participating in major decisions for the company during his leave.

Just as he did during Mr. Jobs’s last medical leave, COO Tim Cook will take over day-to-day operations.

Steve Jobs speaking at an Apple media event

In a letter to employees, Mr. Jobs said:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

Mr. Jobs was treated for pancreatic cancer and ultimately received a liver transplant during his last leave of absence. Neither Apple or Mr. Jobs has commented his current state of health.

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Comments

eugenio

Rest up and get better. Thanks for all you’ve done for this remarkable brand of products of which I have been a devout user right through from the Apple ][.

Best and warmest wishes.

Regards

Eugene

PS - please put down the iPhone, iPad and MacBook for a few weeks…

Lee Dronick

I hope that he soon gets better.

Dave Hamilton

Very interesting that this is announced on a day when the stock market is closed.

xmattingly

Dave, no question that this announcement was timed. That doesn’t mean the naysayers won’t thump Apple’s share price tomorrow, though! smile

Obviously we won’t know what’s up until we’re told from the horse’s mouth, but I’m of the suspicion that this is related to his liver again.

In any event, all we can do for now is hope for the best for Jobs.

Dave Hamilton

It’s funny, but given the history here, “taking a medical leave of absence” sounds a lot better than “retiring”—one has happened before and been rescinded, the other, of course, is an unknown.

I would not be at all surprised if this leave becomes permanent over the next 12 months.

Tiger

This isn’t surprising at all. The stock would normally take a major hit from news like this, but being closed today and then tomorrow being the announcement of quarterly results, results that are supposedly going to knock one out the ballpark, makes perfect sense.

The stock can take the hit all day, then when the results are announced, they will return to the free-climbing mayhem that has been occurring the last six months.

All very well calculated.

GrfxGuru

I hope that Steve’s health bounces back as I would anyone else that has been through the same thing. But I do also feel a test of the waters over a very long period to transition the company’s image to a post Steve era is long overdue.

That said, he is the life and soul of the company ( arguably a bad thing to have one person as the image of any company ) and it will be a hit should he not return.

geoduck

Wow that bit of news was a cold slap first thing on Monday Morning.
I really hope that as others have suggested that this is more of a graceful way to have him exit the scene than something more acute.

Get well soon.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Three things:
1. I wish him well with his health and hope he can find something meaningful and fulfilling in retirement.
2. There are going to be a flurry of “WebM” things from competitors testing new waters.
3. The stockholders meeting is going to be a circus. Fund managers aren’t going to let Apple and Steve get away with the secrecy this time.

Lee Dronick

I really hope that as others have suggested that this is more of a graceful way to have him exit the scene than something more acute.

He probably puts a lot of time and energy into his work, a break would do him good. However, no doubt his mind will be mulling when he is in the land of counterpane and he could return with some great ideas.

jfbiii

I think it’s good to turn it into a pre-transition exhibit, but certainly his long-term prognosis will be important to the stock. Given how stupid a culture we’ve become, setting it up for a day before the company spanks estimates for a record quarter should serve as a solid backstop.

It won’t keep the vultures away next week or next month, though. Tomorrow’s gonna be a good flip day.

jfbiii

Steve won’t ever retire. People like Steve can’t retire. He could be forced out by the board, but he still won’t retire—that is, he won’t do nothing.

Apple and Steve will absolutely get away with the secrecy this time. Just like they did last time. Because the company will continue to deliver results, just like it did last time.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jfbiii: You can count on at least one shareholder lawsuit from a large public employee retirement fund. This isn’t about Apple or Steve, per se. It’s about corporate governance.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

BTW, anyone see Apple’s recent response to the shareholder proposal on CEO succession?

Interesting read.

jpfreeman

This is a shock. I thought he was recovering. I do wish him well, but I also want to know what’s going on, and there will certainly be questions at the conference call.

GrfxGuru

I think we are also seeing the downside to having a company revolve around a person rather than it’s own entity, since I think there is clearly a good argument that a person’s health should be their own personal business and not required public or shareholder accountability.

vpndev

News such as this is commonly announced when the stock markets are closed. Same with financial results - typically released just after 4 pm ET.

mhikl

I think we are also seeing the downside to having a company revolve around a person rather than it?s own entity

. . . .

Apple has its own culture in both product and research which have both been inspired and nurtured by Steve Jobs and his working crew gathered together over these 10 years. Not every point in the direction Apple has taken in these same years has just sputtered from Steve?s mind on whim. The company will do well either with him or without him. That?s what a thriving culture does.

With recurring cancers over six years Steve has known his future a long enough time to put together a strong productive team; this same knowledge and his Buddhist studies have taught him that if his beloved company is to survive and continue its magic in the event of his departure, his ego must step aside for it to happen.

Steve Jobs is a tough bird and shrewd planner. Don?t confuse a brilliant mind trained under steadied mindfulness for stage presence. His company’s become a lot more than a driven man’s dream.

jfbiii

I don’t think it’s about corporate governance, either, if there is a lawsuit. As the linked story indicated, Apple doesn’t have a publicly disclosed succession plan. Not the same thing as not having one. Performance is off the charts and is set to take another swing upwards as the iPhone finds it’s natural level at Verizon. As far as measurable governance, there’s no basis to claim any sort of negligence.

Under those circumstances, a lawsuit becomes a lot more about the opportunity to simply force Apple to do something that’s bad for it and that it harms it. Its roots would be the same as your constant criticism, Bosco: you have a visceral dislike for Jobs because he put bleu cheese on the salad he made for you when you felt entitled to ranch.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@jfbiii: I won’t be filing the lawsuit. But if the stock performs badly and/or the company sputters, there will definitely be shareholder lawsuits over this disclosure issue. My snail mailbox is routinely graced with securities litigation notifications, settlements, settlement administration, etc., and I bet in all of them, it ultimately boils down to disclosure of material facts.

Whether I’m rooting for it or not won’t change the fact that it will probably happen. The stock will take a medium term hit anyway, and the P/E may go from 22ish to 17ish. The long term question is whether Apple can perform like it has without a maniacal dictator at the helm. I hope it can, because I hope that the silly policies were incidental to success rather than the cause of it. I hope for an Apple that makes the best stuff that also works well with other stuff. But I suspect that it won’t and that the current success level is a bit of a bubble that blew up because the industry didn’t quite know what to make of Jobs being successful, took a few years to figure out the game, and is responding at about the time that he’s exiting. Back to lawsuits… Shareholders and lawyers will see a correlation between a mysterious/ambiguous exit and the company’s value receding. Correlation may not be causation, but that’s all they’ll need to start the lawsuits.

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