IT leaders are confident Apple will remain successful following Steve Jobs’ decision to step down as CEO for six months in order to deal with health issues.

For many, Jobs is the human face of Apple, steering the company he co-founded with Steve Wozniak for more than a decade since rejoining the company in 1997.

Now he is withdrawing, albeit temporarily, as the figurehead of Apple, will the company feel the lack of him in terms of customer loyalty or product innovation?

The latest CIO Jury voted 10 to two in favour of Apple coping without Jobs at the helm, however, some queried how it will function in the long-term if its central figure is away for longer than six months.

Neil Hammond, head of IT, British Sugar said: “Innovation in a large organisation is driven by the culture of the organisation, not by any one individual. Steve Jobs has help set the climate and culture of the organisation and it will continue to function while he is away for the next six months. If he is away longer, it is always possible that Apple may lose direction in the long term.”

That said, many jurors noted Jobs’ pivotal role in shaping the company, noting the way he turned the company around when he returned to the top job in 1997.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Northern Europe CIO, Sodexo said: “A company as successful as Apple has strength in depth, as well as a culture of leading-edge design. This will continue – though Steve certainly helps with the public perception and marketing of Apple.”

Today’s CIO Jury:

  • Florentin Albu, ICT manager, Eumetsat
  • Chris Broad, head of information systems and technology, UKAEA
  • Alistair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
  • Nicolas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi
  • Steve Clarke, systems and operations director, AOL Broadband
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick, CIO Northern Europe, Sodexo
  • Chris Ford, IT director, Nottingham City Council
  • Steve Gediking, head of IT and facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Model Management
  • Neil Hammond, head of IT, British Sugar
  • Neil Harvey, IT director, Sindlesham Court
  • David Pirie, group IT director, BCA

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