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.
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 issueA quick timeline:
- In January, Jobs took medical leave. Cook took over. Jobs was involved in all strategic decisions. With Cook at the controls, Apple delivered its best quarters ever.
- In April, 2009 succession planning was front and center for Apple. I argued at the time, that naming Cook CEO made sense then.
- In January 2009, Jobs took a medical leave. Cook delivered in his first stint running the company.
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.