updated 5/19/2005 3:58:37 PM ET 2005-05-19T19:58:37

The founder of Gateway Inc. is retiring after 20 years as chairman of the personal computer maker.

Ted Waitt announced he will step down from the board of directors after the Gateway’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday in Costa Mesa.

Waitt will be succeeded by Richard D. Snyder, a director and former Gateway president.

In a statement, Waitt said he wants to pursue other business and philanthropic interests.

“I am a loyal fan of the company but it’s time for the company to grow without me,” he said, “and time for me to grow without the company.”

His other interests include running a private investment company, Avalon Capital Group, and a construction finance company in the Midwest; chairing several nonprofit institutes; and working with several charities, including the Salk Institute.

Gateway was swimming in red ink before massive job cuts and the closure of 188 stores helped it regain some stability.

The company announced last month that it had lost $5.2 million, or 1 cent a share, in the first quarter. That was down sharply from the $171.5 million, or 51 cents a share, recorded for the same period last year.

In March, the company acquired eMachines Inc. for $290 million in cash and stock.

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