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Apple shareholders demand CEO succession plan

What happens when Steve goes?

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Later today Apple's board will be asked to reveal its plans for replacing the company's absent boss Steve Jobs.

The current CEO is on medical leave from Cupertino for the third time in the past seven years.

The Apple chief told staff in January that the company board had agreed to his taking time off from the Mac and iPhone maker on medical grounds, however it didn't reveal any further details about his health.

"I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company," he said at the time, and confirmed that Tim Cook would take care of day-to-day operations at Apple.

Jobs returned to the tech vendor in June 2009 after receiving a life-saving liver transplant. But his most recent absence has sparked more questions from shareholders keen to know Apple's plans to manage the eventual succession.

Last month, just seven days before Jobs announced his most recent, open-ended medical absence, the company's board advised its shareholders to vote against a proposal to reveal a CEO “succession-planning policy”.

Apple doesn’t want to publicly disclose any such plan because the company is worried that it could affect retention of its top people, who might be lured away by rivals.

The Apple board will use the same argument today, according to a notice about the annual shareholder meeting, in order to avoid disclosing what it sees as sensitive information to its competitors. ®

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