In a letter to Apple employees released Monday morning, Steve Jobs informed his team that health issues have forced him to take a leave of absence from his day-to-day duties as CEO of the company. Tim Cook, who capably managed Apple in 2009 when Mr. Jobs had a lengthy medical absence, will again assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. Mr. Jobs will remain involved in “strategic decisions” for the company. No time frame was given for Mr. Jobs to return on a full time basis.

While Apple shareholders and customers no doubt wish Mr. Jobs a speedy recovery, the present situation bears an uncomfortable similarity to the events that unfolded almost exactly two years ago. On January 5, 2009, Mr. Jobs announced that a “hormone imbalance” that led to significant weight loss necessitated a leave of absence and that he did not wish to elaborate further on the condition. One week later, he indicated that the situation was “more complex” than anticipated and required a six month leave.

Rumors of the nature of Mr. Jobs’ illness immediately spread like wildfire and anonymous sources were quoted in articles indicating that a liver transplant may be required. At the time, Mr. Jobs refused further comment telling Bloomberg reporters “Why don’t you guys leave me alone–why is this important?”. Months later, sources confirmed that Mr. Jobs had indeed received a liver transplant. He returned to Apple in June 2009.

Is this level of disclosure adequate?

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Disclosure:  No position in Apple.

With Jobs on Medical Leave, Apple Shareholders Deserve More Disclosure Regarding Succession
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