The 'fifth BEATLE' has stunned the music world by quitting his job as Apple Corps chief executive. Neil Aspinall, a longtime friend of Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison - and the Fab Four's first road manager, gave no reason for his decision to walk away from the group's Abbey Road headquarters in London when he quit yesterday (10APR07). The 64 year old, known as the guardian of the Beatles' commercial interests, was the mastermind behind the BEATLES ANTHOLOGY package and the BEATLES 1 hits album. In a statement confirming his departure, an Apple Corps spokesman has announced that former Sony BMG executive vice president JEFF JONES has been appointed as Aspinall's replacement. The Apple Corps spokesman added Aspinall "had been with John, Paul, George and Ringo for a spectacular 40 plus years, during which he played an indispensable role for the four. "He was there since the inception of the band in Liverpool and has meant so much to the Beatles' family for all these years, and still does. "He has decided to move on. Apple, as a whole, and each member of this company, wishes him great success in whatever endeavour he chooses to pursue in the future."