SAN FRANCISCO—Steve Jobs, the visionary and iconic leader who twice steered Apple Inc. to prominence, resigned Wednesday (Aug. 24) as CEO of the company he co-founded in 1976, citing lingering health issues.
Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) said Jobs has been elected chairman of Apple's board of directors.
Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, was named the company's new CEO. Cook will also join Apple's board, the company said.
Jobs has been on leave since January with undisclosed health issues. Cook has been Apple's acting CEO in Jobs' absence.
In a letter addressed to Apple's board and the Apple community, Jobs wrote: "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."
Jobs did not elaborate on his health condition. Jobs previously underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009.
In his letter, Jobs resigned as CEO and offered to serve as chairman, director and Apple employee "if the board sees fit." Jobs strongly recommended that Cook be appointed to succeed him as CEO.
"I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," Jobs wrote. "And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role."
“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 and a member of Apple's board, in a statement. “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 co-founded Apple along with Steve Wozniak and others in 1976. Jobs resigned from Apple in 1984 after a power struggle with the board. He returned as Apple CEO in 1997 when Apple bought the company he was then leading, NeXT Computer Inc.. Since then, Jobs has been instrumental in Apple's creation of the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and other products and has been at the helm as Apple has risen to become arguably the most prominent technology company in the world. Earlier this month, Apple passed Exxon Mobile as the most valuable company in the world in terms of market capitalization.