Steven P. Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple, is taking a medical leave of absence, a year and a half after his return from a liver transplant, raising questions about both his long-term prognosis and the future of the world’s most valuable technology company.
“Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:
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.
Mr. Jobs’s leave is certain to cause anxiety with investors and even consumers. Perhaps more than any other chief executive, he is seen as inseparable from his company’s success.
In mid-2004, Jobs was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas and underwent surgery to have it removed. On January 14, 2009, Jobs announced a six-month leave of absence to allow him to better focus on his health. Then, in April 2009, Jobs underwent a liver transplant after which he returned to Apple.