Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs on medical leave

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Jobs in June 2010
Image: Matthew Yohe.

Steve Jobs, the chief executive officer of Apple Inc., announced Monday in an internal memo that he would be on medical leave for an undetermined period of time. The statement caused a sharp decrease of Apple share prices in foreign markets, while US markets were closed in honor of Martin Luther King.

Monday's email announcement marked the third time in the past decade that Jobs, aged 55, has taken medical leave. He fought pancreatic cancer in 2004 and took six months off in early 2009, later revealing he had undergone a liver transplant. Jobs has not yet mentioned what prompted his decision this time around, but said he will still be the company's CEO. He left current chief operating officer Timothy D. Cook in charge of day-to-day operations, the same move made in Jobs' last two absences.

While no additional comment has been officially made by Apple, The New York Times reported that someone familiar with the situation said Jobs's health has "ups and downs" due to problems with his immune system, problems frequently experienced by those who have had liver transplants. The insider, who asked to remain anonymous, said that, over the past few weeks, Jobs' health appeared to be deteriorating and that he was becoming thinner. Lewis W. Teperman, a doctor at New York University, said, "It’s very common for transplant patients to have issues that are not life-threatening."

On its website, Apple released the text of Jobs's email, which reads:


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.