The 55-year old Apple co-founder, who has been CEO of Apple for the last 14 years, has decided he is unable to lead the company anymore. He did ask to stay on as Chairman of the board, and the board of directors voted unanimously for him to do so. He will still be around Apple, but day to day decisions and strategic vision for the company now falls to Tim Cook; Jobs recommended him as the new CEO and the board followed that recommendation.
Steve Jobs had been on a medical leave since January due to an undisclosed illness, and his departure was not a surprise. However, as CEO and an Apple employee, he will continue to be available to Tim Cook during this transition period. A smooth succession plan executed while Jobs is still on the board is a welcome relief to Wall Street.
Even so, Steve Jobs has been a guiding force for the company, deeply involved in product development, his sense of technology and style crucial to Apple’s direction. He’s been a showman and an icon – the literal face of Apple for over a decade. His resignation will bring a slow, subtle change to Apple’s future direction.
Jobs also remains on the board of directors for The Walt Disney Company, helping oversee Disney and Pixar’s combined animation businesses. He became a board member and single largest stockholder in Disney in January 2006 after the company purchased Pixar, the animation company he founded in a stock trade worth $7.4 billion.