What a shock to know about Steve Jobs’ sudden death just this morning (Philippine time). Tributes poured in from the world’s who’s who: from United States President Barack Obama (“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”), Microsoft Corp. Chair Bill Gates (“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”), HP CEO Meg Whitman (“He will be remembered for the innovation he brought to market and the inspiration he brought to the world.”), Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (“Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”), and many others.
Late last August, Jobs resigned as Apple CEO. Here’s his brief resignation letter:
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
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.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. 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.
For all his leadership acumen and innovativeness, Jobs is totally aware of his limitations. In this letter, he indirectly acknowledged that his declining health (without dwelling on the specifics) has adversely affected his capability to meet his duties and responsibilities as Apple’s CEO. Just like any good leader, he not only thought about his legacy – he also made it perfectly clear that the company he founded will be able to march on even without him by nurturing potential leaders within his organization. All leaders must not only know when to relinquish power – he/she must also be able to guarantee continuity. This is another lesson we can learn from Steve Jobs.
Tribute from Apple, Inc: http://www.apple.com/stevejobs/
Obituary from CNN:
Obituary from Wall Street Journal: