Apple announced this morning that its board has granted founder CEO Steve Jobs a medical leave of absence.
A memo sent from Jobs to Apple employees 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.
This is not the first time Jobs has had to take medical leave. In 2004, a cancerous tumor was discovered in his pancreas. Then in January of 2009, Jobs took a six month leave culminating in a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Tennessee. Tim Cook stepped in as acting CEO during that time, but in this instance Jobs will remain CEO while Cook handles daily operations.
The announcement appears to have been carefully timed, being released on a national holiday and one day before Apple's quarterly earnings call.
[Image above from Jobs's October 2010 event]