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Apple's Jobs to skip annual shareholder meeting

CEO Steve Jobs' six-month medical leave of absence will keep him from attending Wednesday's annual meeting for the first time since he returned to Apple in 1997.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is sitting out Wednesday's annual shareholder meeting. James Martin/CNET Networks

Apple has confirmed that CEO Steve Jobs will miss Wednesday's annual shareholder meeting for the first time since he returned in 1997 to the company he co-founded, Bloomberg has reported.

Jobs is currently on a medical leave of absence until the end of June to deal with unspecified health issues that have caused him to lose a significant amount of weight over the last year, so his absence is not a total surprise.

Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook is running the show in Jobs' absence and will likely serve as master of ceremonies for the meeting Wednesday morning at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. In the past, a large part of the meeting--once the official business is done--has centered on Jobs fielding questions from shareholders on any number of topics, flanked by Cook and Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing. Cook will likely handle those inquiries this year.

It will be interesting to see if shareholders pose questions about Jobs' absence and the way Apple has handled the disclosures related to his health. Apple has addressed succession planning in oblique terms at shareholder meetings in the past, but in the wake of Jobs' medical leave, corporate governance experts have called for Apple to make its plan for a post-Jobs Apple known to the public.

No significant shareholder measures are on the ballot this year, and all eight directors are up for re-election, as usual. Apple does not provide a feed of the meeting, but reporters are allowed to watch on closed-circuit television in an overflow room, and we'll be there.