The announcement, which came during Jobs' keynote at the Macworld trade show here, caps a two-and-a-half-year search on Apple's part to find a full-time chief. Jobs has run Apple since the middle of 1997 as the "interim" CEO and has resisted calling the position anything more than a temporary solution.
The news will likely buoy shareholders, because Jobs has been instrumental in the company's comeback. Since Jobs took over from former CEO Gil Amelio, Apple has made a roaring comeback with the iMac and the iBook, landed a multimillion dollar investment from Microsoft and seen investments in companies such as Akamai skyrocket in value.
Apple's stock has also more than tripled since the co-founder returned.
A search for a full-time CEO has largely waned in recent months. Apple appeared to be beating the bushes actively in 1998. Ray Lane of Oracle and former Microsoft CFO Greg Maffei were touted as candidates. Some candidates shied away because, according to sources, Jobs would have maintained too much control.
Jobs is also the chief executive at Pixar, a digital animation firm.
"I'm hoping that I've been able to prove to the shareholders of Pixar and the shareholders of Apple that I can manage to do both jobs adequately with the great team of people that are at both companies...so I thought it was reflective of reality" that "interim" be dropped, Jobs told CNET News.com.
"We're not looking for another CEO position, and I am planning on staying around for a while, so I thought that we've demonstrated this can work pretty well....It just felt right to me," Jobs said.