With the announcement that Steve Jobs is to step down as CEO of Apple Apple Inc. 138,93 +2,21 +1,62%, following a resignation letter to the board.
This letter also moves Tim Cook to the CEO role, one in which he was previously placed temporarily in 2004, whilst Steve Jobs recovered from surgery to deal with pancreatic cancer. It also states that Steve would like to remain as Chairman, and an employee of Apple. From the tone of the letter, it appears that he’s still keen on the medical insurance, stocks and other perks of the Apple package, but is less keen on the day to day management.But what of his replacement? Tim Cook has been in the role before, has been schooled in the Apple culture by Steve, and knows how things must function corporately to deliver the goods. Apple very rarely has faltered during product launches (the iPhone 4 antenna being the most notable recent exception). Execution against the plan, on time, is the most important thing in Apple’s product launches, and it’s not unusual to find several features “fixed” in subsequent software releases. The hardware, however has to be solid, as recalls would hit the Apple brand image hard.
So Steve hasn’t left, and the Chairman role allows him to do the technology statesman role he so loves (the parading of new tech on stage in front of the press and adoring fans). Whilst I expect him not to appear at the the iPhone 5 launch (it would detract from Tim Cook’s new role), in future he might pop up and do a cameo appearance.