Steven P. Jobs, current chief executive and one of the original founders of Apple, is set to take a medical leave of absence, according to a statement released by the Californian company this morning. Jobs has been back at work for 18 months since recovering from a liver transplant.
Mr. Jobs made the announcement through a letter to his staff in which he said he would be stepping aside “so I can focus on my health” but he would continue to involve himself in major strategic decisions where the company was concerned.
“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Mr. Jobs said.
“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,” said Mr. Jobs in his letter to Apple staff.
Mr. Jobs fell victim to pancreatic cancer but successful surgery in 2004 led to a full recovery from that illness, although ever since then he has suffered with related health issues. In January 2009, Steven Jobs went on medical leave during which time he flew to Tennessee for a liver transplant; apparently done secretively.
Apple released a press statement in June 2009, informing investors and buyers that Steven P. Jobs was back at work, and he subsequently made his first public appearance following his operation in September that year.
Onlookers reported that even though he maintained his unique character and was equally energetic and enthusiastic while delivering news on Apple’s new products, he looked gaunt.
Since then, Mr. Jobs has delivered more public show pieces to demonstrate new Apple gadgets including the iPhone 4 and the iPad media tablet, during which he continued to look gaunt, despite his best efforts to remain energetic and excited.
At an event in July 2010, a reporter asked Mr. Jobs about his health, to which he replied, “I’m feeling great.”
According to people close to him his appearance has deteriorated in recent months and he is looking more frail than ever. In his letter to the staff on Monday, Mr. Jobs requsted privacy, saying, “My family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”
[adsense]His previous leave of absence, which was kept private by the company, led some shareholders to criticise the handling of the situation, claiming that Apple had (and still has) an obligation to its investors to be more forthcoming with information that could affect share prices.
Many will be concerned that Steven P. Jobs is again suffering with cancer, and his surprise decision to take leave certainly indicates that his health is in worse condition than we are led to believe.
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images: yaseen.co.za, novaonline.nvcc.edu