Update: Apple CEO Steve Jobs resigns

The surprise announcement came Wednesday afternoon

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs announced Wednesday that he is resigning as Apple CEO.

Apple's iconic CEO, Steve Jobs, is resigning and asked the company's board of directors to tap Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook as his replacement. The board did just that, at the same time naming Jobs chairman of the board.

The surprise announcement came Wednesday afternoon.

"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," Jobs said in a statement. "Unfortunately, that day has come."

Jobs has battled serious health issues for several years and stepped away from day-to-day duties months ago.

Here is the text of the letter he released:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

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.

Steve

In a statement, Apple's board praised Jobs and expressed confidence in Cook.

"Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company," said Art Levinson, chairman of Genentech, on behalf of the board. "Steve has made countless contributions to Apple's success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple's immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as chairman of the board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration."

"The board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO," added Levinson. "Tim's 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does."

After-hours trading of Apple stock was halted when Apple released the news, according to MarketWatch. The company's stock fell more than 6% when trading resumed, then pared those losses to trade down 5.2% at $356.30 per share.

Developing story. More to come.

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