Steve Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January, has stepped down as CEO of Apple Inc. and has “strongly recommended” the board name Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook as his successor.

Jobs was immediately named chairman of the board, and Cook, who had been handling the day-to-day operations of the company during Jobs’ leave of absence, also joined the board.

The urgency with which the change in command was made on Wednesday raises questions about Jobs’ health. He was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 and two years ago received a liver transplant. –BF

The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Cook faces a big challenge in stepping into Mr. Jobs’s shoes because he must prove that Apple can succeed without Mr. Jobs. Mr. Jobs not only co-founded the company, but brought Apple back from near bankruptcy when he returned to the company in 1997. He is considered the visionary behind the company and has played a key role in reviving the Macintosh computer business and developing new products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

“Great companies rarely go from strength to strength,” said Charles O’Reilly, a management expert, at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, adding that Apple faces a particular challenge in that Mr. Jobs has had an unusually strong influence in setting Apple’s corporate culture and strategy.

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