Sequoia’s Moritz Steps Back From Management on Illness

Michael Moritz, the venture capital investor behind companies such as Google Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and Yahoo! Inc., is stepping back from daily management at Sequoia Capital after disclosing that he has a rare illness.

Moritz, 57, is relinquishing responsibilities including regulatory compliance and recruiting, the Menlo Park, California-based firm said today in a letter to investors. He will remain involved in making new investments from current and future funds, and mentoring startups.

“I have been diagnosed with a rare medical condition which can be managed but is incurable,” Moritz wrote in the letter, a copy of which was provided to Bloomberg Businessweek. He didn’t specify the nature of his illness.

“I’ve been told that in the next five to 10 years the quality of my life is quite likely to decline,” he wrote. “Right now I feel fitter than ever and I hope that I’ll be one of the lucky ones who can live a full life and defy the statisticians. But there is no way of predicting this with certainty and thus for me life has assumed a different meaning and I am making some adjustments.”

Over the past two decades, the Welsh-born Moritz has been a fixture in California’s Silicon Valley, first as a journalist and author, and then as one of the most successful investors on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road. In addition to backing such Internet pioneers as Yahoo and Google, he sat on a number of boards including Google’s from 1999 to 2007. In 1984, he authored “The Little Kingdom: the Private Story of Apple Computer.”

“I’m going to keep the nature of my condition private, but on a completely unrelated matter, if anyone can make my 57-year-old back feel like it was when I was a teenager, they should call,” Moritz said in an e-mail.

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