Apple CEO Steve Jobs Announces Medical Leave

On Monday, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs announced his decision to take a medical leave of absence from his company.

This will be Jobs’ second departure in only two years.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health,” Jobs wrote. “I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”

Apple issued a press release on Monday to make the announcement, which states that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will preside over the company’s day to day operations for an indefinite period of time.

“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Jobs wrote. “In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”

Jobs returned to Apple from his previous medical leave in June 2009 following a liver transplant. Five years prior, Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer.

Apple undoubtedly opted to make the announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in light of the fact that markets are closed. NASDAQ – the market in which AAPL trades – would likely have been rocked by news of Jobs’ departure.

On Tuesday, Apple will announce its quarterly earnings.