Perhaps no chief executive is identified more with a company, a brand, and even a technological way of life, than Steve Jobs is to Apple. Jobs co-founded the company with Steve Wozniak in 1977, and brought it back from a moribund state in the late 90s and early 2000s after a period of estrangement. In 2010 Apple passed Microsoft to become the second largest company on the S&P 500 in terms of market cap, behind only Exxon Mobil -- a development, should you have suggested its possiblity, that would have pegged you as a deluded zealot during the financially lean years of Jobs' Apple exile.
That's why the news that the Apple CEO is taking a third medical leave of absence is the lead story on the web sites of the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times of London, to name three.
Jobs has been battling cancer for at least six years. He underwent a liver transplant in 2008.
Here's the full text of Jobs' email to Apple employees announcing the news, from the Chronicle:
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.
The company is set to release its quarterly earnings report after the bell tomorrow.