Posted by: Rob Hof on January 14, 2009
Just a week after revealing that he has a medical issue related to his 2004 pancreatic cancer surgery that had taken a toll on his weight, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today said he’s taking a medical leave until the end of June. In an email to Apple employees today, Jobs said in the past week he had been informed that his health-related issues are “more complex than I originally thought” and that curiosity over his health was becoming too much of a distraction for his family and for Apple.
Here’s the full email:
I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.
In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.
I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.
The news is already spooking investors. Apple’s stock futures fell, and after-hours trading in Apple was halted.
Worries about Jobs’ health had been swirling especially since his appearance at an Apple iPhone launch last June, when I and others noticed he looked particularly gaunt. But concerns deepened a few weeks ago after Jobs said he would not make his customary keynote address at the annual Macworld conference in San Francisco, which was held last week. He then announced that he was suffering from “hormonal imbalances” that were affecting his weight, but he indicated that relatively straightforward dietary changes over the coming months were expected to resolve the problem.
The concern over Jobs is not just because of his legendary status in tech but because he’s seen, rightly or wrongly, as the one indispensable leader at Apple. He’s seen as the chief driver of all of Apple’s major products, from Macintosh computers, iPod music players, and iPhones.
More to come…
(Photo courtesy AP)