Steve Jobs has stepped-down as the CEO of Apple.

The announcement follows a lengthy absence from the Apple hot-seat due to health reasons.

Current COO Tim Cook is the new CEO of the company following a "strong recommendation" from Jobs, who will now take on a new role as chairman of the board.

Statement

"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," said Jobs in a resignation letter.

"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it," he added. "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."

Iconic

Jobs' announcement will send shockwaves through the tech world and marks the end of a 14-year period in charge, since he rejoined the near-bankrupt company in 1997.

Over the last decade-and-a-half, Jobs' stewardship has seen Apple produce one of the most stunning comebacks in business history, culminating with overtaking Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company, this month.

Jobs himself has undoubtedly been the most influential man in the technology world since the turn of the century.

Cook takes over

As we mentioned, the man with the unenviable task of replacing Jobs is current Apple COO Tim Cook, who now becomes Chief Executive Officer.

Cook, 50, has taken on more and more responsibility at the top of the company in the last couple of years and especially since Steve Jobs went on hiatus in January.

"The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO," said Apple board member Art Levinson.

He also said that Jobs will "continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration."

Concern

Despite this second lengthy absence for health reasons, Jobs, who also received a liver transplant in 2009, has continued to be the public face of the company.

He was last seen at the Apple WWDC event in June, where he unveiled the iCloud platform and iOS 5, the new mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Obviously his departure as CEO raises more concerns about Jobs' current condition. We wish him the very best in his recovery efforts.

Link: WSJ