Steve Jobs resigned as Apple CEO on Wednesday afternoon. In a letter to the Apple Board of Directors, he cited no longer being able to fully handle the responsibilities of the job as his reason for stepping down.

“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,” Jobs wrote. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Jobs recommended that the Board follow the succession plan that had already been decided upon and immediately name Apple COO Tim Cook as the company’s new CEO. Jobs also asked to stay on as an Apple employee and, more importantly, become Chairman of the Board. The Apple Board agreed to both measures and also added Cook as a member of the Board.

On behalf of the Board, Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, said, “Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company. Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

Levinson also threw a vote of confidence to Cook, saying, “The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO. Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”

Naturally, the question that is going to be asked over the next 24 hours is “Why now?” Jobs has been on medical leave from the CEO job since January, but has appeared publicly several times since then. The speculation about his health taking a recent turn for the worse is going to be inevitable, although there are no reliable reports to support that.

Further reading