Corporate Eye

Steve Jobs Resigns as Apple CEO Marking the End of an Era

Steve Jobs resigned as Apple CEO today via a letter which was published on Apple’s website. Later, Apple published a press release stating that Steve Jobs would stay on as Apple Chairman of the Board and Apple COO Tim Cook (who has been marked as Jobs’ successor for some time now) will take the role of Apple CEO.

This announcement is not a surprise to anyone who has been following the Steve Jobs and Apple story over the past few years. In October 2008, I published a post here on the Corporate Eye blog called The Brand Champion Exit Strategy – Lessons from Steve Jobs and Apple where I talked about how a false report that Steve Jobs had a heart attack sent Apple’s stuck plunging. I ended that post by saying, “You never want one person to hold so much power that your brand’s short or long-term success becomes dependant on him or her.  Ensure your brand can stand on its own with brand champions helping to push the brand in the right direction for strategic growth.”

Then in January 2009, I wrote a post called The Brand Champion Exit Strategy Redux – Lessons from Steve Jobs and Apple where I talked about a second reactionary plunge in Apple’s stock after rumors broke that Steve Jobs would not attend the popular Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas due to health reasons. I ended that post by saying, “The lesson to learn is this – develop brand champions but don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  And most importantly, put together a succession plan before your primary brand champion exits.”

Again, Steve Jobs’ resignation is not shocking. The financial world has been waiting for it for years, and while Apple’s stock is feeling the effects, financial analysts aren’t overly concerned. One of the main reasons they’re not worried is the fact that Tim Cook has been being groomed as Steve Jobs’ successor for some time now. As Ian Sherr of Dow Jones Newswire wrote today, “[Analysts and investors] say Apple will continue delivering hit products because of the culture Jobs has created at the company. ‘Tim is molded after Steve,” said Colin Gillis, an analyst at brokerage BGC Partners, who recommends buying Apple stock on the dips. “If they got an outside CEO, there might be concern.'”

Of course, Steve Jobs isn’t leaving Apple completely nor is he leaving his role as brand champion. In fact, his move from the role of CEO could have a positive effect on Apple after the resignation buzz dies down. It’s no secret that Jobs runs Apple with an iron fist (check out this article on and this article from the Guardian Technology blog to get some juicy details about Jobs and the Apple culture).

What do you think? What’s next for Apple after Steve Jobs leaves the role of CEO? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the changing of the guards at Apple.

Image: Apple Press Info

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Great article Susan. I think that Steve Jobs personifies and embodies the Apple brand, and wonder can his shoes ever be filled? Likely not. The new CEO’s personal style will be much talked about in the coming days, weeks and months. As I always say anyone can manage with the right knowledge, training and dedication. But true leaders inspire. They make us believe anything is possible and they help not only envision what is not yet real but actually bring it to life in our minds, so we can create it. Steve Jobs is genuine, meaningful and different. See my blog on this topic here:


Thank you for your comment. I agree that Steve Jobs is inspiring to consumers. He’d be very difficult to work for (based on his reputation within Apple), but he certainly can get results.

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