Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., has stepped down as chief executive officer of the company that revolutionized consumer electronics, but will become chairman of the board, the company told the Los Angeles Times.

Jobs on Wednesday resigned his CEO position, marking an end to his 14-year reign at the consumer electronics giant he co-founded in a garage.

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, he said in a brief letter announcing his resignation.

That he has relinquished daily control isn't all too surprising because it was widely anticipated after Jobs took an extended medical leave earlier this year. The 55-year-old briefly emerged from his medical leave in March to unveil the iPad 2 tablet computer, and later to attend a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for technology leaders in Silicon Valley.

He also showed up this summer at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco to introduce iOS 5, and the forthcoming iCloud service.

Jobs had a liver transplant two years ago and also underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer seven years ago.

Neither the company nor Jobs has mentioned his health since he took a leave in January, telling employees in an internal memo he had learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.

Most of the day-to-day were handed over to COO Tim Cook, who will become the new CEO effective immediately.

Apple shares slid to $357.40 in extended trading after a brief halt. They had gained 0.7 percent to close at $376.18 on the Nasdaq.