Steve Jobs resigns: Now Apple's succession plan to be put to test

Summary:Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigned amid ongoing health issues. Now the company's succession plan will be tested.

Apple's Steve Jobs resigned and Tim Cook, chief operating officer, has taken over the reins of the company. Now Apple's succession planning will be put to the test as Wall Street, customers, rivals and the tech industry digests the news.

Jobs' health has been an ongoing issue and it was clear that there would come a day when he couldn't be CEO. That day apparently came Wednesday.

In a resignation letter, Jobs said:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

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.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple''s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Not surprisingly Apple's board moved Cook into the CEO position. Cook has run Apple well on a day-to-day basis during Jobs' latest health leave and one prior to that.

The big question now is whether Apple can keep its edge, product launches and other moving parts going without a hitch. Analysts have been high on Cook's ability to lead Apple, but the ultimate impact will take years to unfold.

In the short term, Apple shares took a small hit on the news in afterhours trading.  Apple shares were down $17.61 to $355.91

The early reaction indicates that Jobs' departure is a blow to Apple, but not totally unexpected. Analysts and tech watchers have been mulling over Jobs stepping down for months if not years.

Overall, analysts have been sold on Apple's succession planning and have become accustomed to Cook as the leader.

Succession planning an issue

A quick timeline:

The upshot: No one can replace Jobs, but Cook is tested and may be the best try-before-you-buy a CEO example in Corporate America.

Related:

CNET: Steve Jobs steps down from Apple

Topics: CXO, Apple, Enterprise Software, IT Employment, Legal

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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