Steve Jobs’s Path Towards Resignation

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc. on Wednesday while on a medical leave of absence. To outside appearances, the timing of Mr. Jobs’s resignation is more strategic than one of necessity; but as the Mac, iPhone, and iPad community works on digesting the news that Mr. Jobs would no longer lead Apple, we thought a timeline of events in the years leading up to his resignation would be helpful.

With Mr. Jobs being among the most famous of CEOs running what is now the world’s second most valuable company (or most valuable, depending on the day), the health issues that resulted in him taking that leave of absence have been closely watched by both the Mac (and iOS) Web and by the mainstream media—Wall Street has even taken on a vocal role in asking questions about his health over the years.

In other words, Mr. Jobs’s health has been an issue that received a lot of coverage and even more speculation, and for fans of Mr. Jobs and his company, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster leading up to Wednesday’s resignation.


Steve underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and was expected to make a full recovery. It was revealed that the type of cancer was an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor which is rare and less aggressive than other forms of pancreatic cancer. He did not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation therapy. He was reported to be in good spirits and was expected to return to work after a few months of recovery. Tim Cook, executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations, was placed in charge of day-to-day operations in his absence.


Steve returns to full-time work after surgery. Was said to be in excellent spirits and want to put discussions of his health behind him.


In an uncharacteristic move, the famously private executive revealed some details regarding his health concerns. There had been much speculation in that regard because of an obvious weight loss that had occurred the previous year. In a statement, he said he was receiving treatment for a “hormone imbalance.” He also announced that he would skip the Macworld Expo keynote and turn that over to Phil Schiller instead. It was in this statement that Mr. Jobs made a commitment to “be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO.”


Mr. Jobs steps down for 6-month medical leave of absence. It was an unexpected move that caused trading of AAPL stock to be halted. Once again, Tim Cook, now COO, was placed in charge of day-to-day operations. Steve expected to remain involved in strategic decisions at the company.


Sometime in April, Mr. Jobs received a liver transplant in Tennessee. This was not widely known or reported until months later.


On schedule, Steve returns to work after a 6-month medical leave of absence. The leave had been surrounded by a bit of controversy regarding full disclosure and timing of the release of information regarding the nature of Mr. Jobs’ health concerns. It’s impact on stocks was subject of an SEC investigation.


Mr. Jobs was granted an open-ended medical leave of absence by the board of directors. Once again, Tim Cook was placed in charge.


Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) announced that it was backing a shareholder proposal from the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) that would require the company to disclose a succession plan for the company’s CEO spot on an annual basis.


Apple’s shareholders rejected the above-mentioned proposal requiring the company’s management to disclose its internal succession plan, something some fund managers and shareholder activists had been actively pushing for years.


Mr. Jobs made a surprise keynote appearance for the iPad 2 announcement.


At the WWDC, Steve Jobs hosted the keynote and gave the iCloud announcement himself.


Mr. Jobs gave a short presentation to Cupertino City Council for approval for the development of new campus.


The Wall Street Journal reports that some of Apple’s board members had talked to outside executive recruiters and “at least one head of a high-profile technology company” about Apple’s CEO succession plan. Mr. Jobs called the report “hogwash.”


Steve Jobs steps down as CEO and is promptly voted in as chairman of the board as requested. Tim Cook was officially named the permanent CEO. As promised, Mr. Jobs was the first one to tell the board that he was unable to fulfill his duties as Apple’s CEO.

Bryan Chaffin contributed to this aticle.