Jobs Not Expected At Apple Shareholders Meeting

Feb 23, 2009 (02:02 PM EST)

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Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, who has taken a six-month medical leave from the company, will not attend Apple's shareholder meeting scheduled for this week, it was reported Monday.

Jobs' absence will mark the first time the company's co-founder has not attended the annual meeting in more than a decade, business news agency Bloomberg reported. Jobs is on medical leave until June.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Jobs' absence from the Feb. 25 meeting is likely to highlight the importance of having a succession plan in place for the iconic CEO whose vision and strategy is seen as the linchpin to the company's success over the last few years. Shareholders are likely to press Apple executives for their plans for a post-Jobs Apple.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing Apple's handling of disclosures of Jobs' health, which has been a subject of speculation since last June when he appeared gaunt at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Investors have been frustrated with Apple's less-than-candid disclosures that have sparked rumors and led to drops in the company's stock price.

Jobs underwent surgery in 2004 for a rare form of pancreatic cancer and recently suffered complications that led to the medical leave. Jobs, 53, continues to be involved in major company decisions, while chief operating officer Tim Cook handles day-to-day operations, according to Apple.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 after being bounced from the company about 10 years earlier. During his second tenure, Jobs elevated the money-losing company to its current status as a highly successful computer and consumer electronics manufacturer.