For the second time in two years, Apple chief Steve Jobs is taking leave of absence due to health issues, he told employees in a letter Monday.
As with his leave in 2009, he will remain CEO and said COO Tim Cook would take over daily operations. There was no indication how long he would be off.
Jobs sent the following letter to employees:
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.
Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2003. He last took leave in January 2009, saying the illness was "more complex" than first thought.
Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling confirmed the news to TheWrap.
The company's stock in took a dive in foreign markets, falling more than 7 percent in Germany on the news. The U.S. stock market was closed in observance of Martin Luther King's birthday on Monday, giving American investors a chance to mull the impact Jobs' absence will have on Apple's performance.
However, several U.S. analysts did not sound too concerned. “Right now Apple has a management team that is one of the greatest in American business,” Charles Wolf, an analyst with Needham & Company, told the New York Times. “Whatever trajectory the company is on will continue for two to five years, regardless of whether Steve comes back.”