The ailing Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January, has stepped down as the head of Apple.
Jobs has been plagued by a string of health issues in recent years and taken a number of leaves of absence from the the company. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and later underwent a liver transplant.
In his resignation letter, he 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.
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.
As requested, Apple's board has elected Jobs as chairman and named COO Tim Cook as chief executive, effective immediately.
Apple board member Art Levinson, the chairman of Genentech, said Jobs would continue to serve Apple as chairman with "unique insights, creativity and inspiration".
“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” he said.
“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."
Levinson said the board had complete confidence in Cook's ability to lead.
“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.”
As COO, Cook was previously responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operation. He also headed Apple’s Macintosh division.