In a shock announcement, Apple has confirmed that Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO and Tim Cook will take over his role.
Last January Steve Jobs took a leave of absence on health grounds but the announcement tonight comes as a shock, considering he had been seen on stage as recently as the launch of iOS 5 and Apple’s first foray into the Cloud in June.
In a letter, Jobs said:
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.
In a press release from the Cupertino based company, it said: "Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company."
Tim Cook and Steve Jobs on stage together
Apple’s Board of Directors named Tim Cook, previously Apple's Chief Operating Officer, as the company's new CEO. Steve Jobs will remain on at Apple as Chairman of the Board.
"The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO. 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," said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board.
This news will be a surprise for all Apple watchers and the repercussions of the loss of Jobs as CEO will only be truly felt in the weeks, months and years to come.
Let us know in the comments what you think of the news that Jobs has resigned as CEO of the company he helped rebuild having first created it in his garage.
Update: Ars Technica has managed to get a hold of Tim Cook's first email to Apple staff.
In it Cook claims nothing will change at Apple and that "it's been the privilege of a lifetime to work for Apple and Steve for over 13 years. I share Steve's optimism for Apple's bright future."
He goes on to say: "I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple's unique principles and values."