SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs on Wednesday resigned as chief executive of Apple Inc in a stunning move that ended his 14-year reign at the technology giant he co-founded in a garage.
Apple shares were suspended from trade before the announcement. They had gained 0.7 percent to close at $376.18.
The pancreatic cancer survivor and industry icon, who has been on medical leave for an undisclosed condition since January 17, will be replaced by COO and longtime heir apparent Tim Cook.
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The 55-year-old CEO had briefly emerged from his medical leave in March to unveil the latest version of the iPad and later to attend a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for technology leaders in Silicon Valley.
Jobs’ often-gaunt appearance has sparked questions about his health and his ability to continue at Apple.
“I will say to investors: don’t panic and remain calm, it’s the right thing to do. Steve will be chairman and Cook is CEO,” said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis.
Letter from Steve Jobs:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.