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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer of Apple, will take a temporary leave of absence due to medical conditions. During his absence, Timothy Cook will lead day-to-day operations, but Mr. Jobs will continue to be involved into major strategic decision.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company. I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011,” said Steve Jobs in a letter to Apple employees.

This is the second time in two years when chief exec Steve Jobs takes a leave of absence due to medical reasons. In late 2003 Mr. Jobs was diagnosed with cancer in his pancreas. In 2004 he had an operation made that removed the cancer. However, in mid-2009 the head of Apple had a liver transplant. Mr. Jobs is believed to be the mind behind every successful gadget Apple has released in the last thirteen years.

“Steve Jobs is seen by the market to be a major force in Apple’s strategic direction. If his pancreatic cancer has returned, one could be quite worried,” said Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura, reports Reuters news-agency.

Some analysts believe that Steve Jobs need to leave and Timothy Cook, or other talented executive, should take the reins.

“Apple missed an opportunity to hand the day-to-day responsibility to another executive earlier on, with Jobs focusing on broader ideas and design while taking care of his health. I am worried that the current decision to keep Steve Jobs as CEO is another mistake,” said Michael Obuchowski, chief investment officer at First Empire Asset Management, reports Bloomberg news-agency.

Mr. Jobs himself promised to return to Apple. However, unlike in 2009, he did not reveal when he is in position to run the company again.

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

Tags: Apple, Business

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