Apple could be sued for misleading the investors about Steve Jobs' medical status and for being slow to form a succession plan after his 2004 cancer treatment. Rick Hanna, an analyst, figures that Apple was trading 10% to 15% higher because of Jobs' leadership and skills, and today's (wednesday 14th, Jan 2009) 10% drop in stocks after the company's announcement has erased that benefit.
Just 9 days after Jobs admitted publically that his weight loss in recent months was caused by harmone imbalance, the news about him going on a medical leave is in. This is making worried investors think that Jobs could be once again suffering from cancer that would require a 6 month leave of absence.
Apple released the text of an email Jobs sent to the company's employees today, in which Jobs has handed over the control to Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook. Cook ran Apple for two months while Jobs recuperated from the pancreas cancer surgery. Later Cook became responsible for Apple's world-wide sales and its Macintosh computer division and he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Apple in 2005. Even though Cook doesn't possess the corporate showmanship of Mr. Jobs, he is respected as a low-key individual who helped Apple from sinking during the mid-90s.
Securities lawsuits can be filed from companies' false statements about material aspects of their businesses and no securities rules and legal precedents require CEO's health status to be disclosed. But Jobs' status as CEO is critical for investors to decide about investing in Apple and the law is not clear about whether the company has to disclose personal medical information.