Apple last night announced that former US vice president Al Gore has been elected to the company's board of directors.

A Democrat, Gore narrowly lost the 2000 US presidential race to current president George W Bush following a controversial recount in Florida State, which gave Bush a majority of 537 votes.

Taking a seat on Apple's board is the first executive private-sector post Gore has taken since he lost the presidential race.

Welcoming Apple's newest executive, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: "Al brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and wisdom to Apple, from having helped run the largest organization in the world - the United States government - as a congressman, senator and our 45th vice president. Al is also an avid Mac user and does his own video editing in Final Cut Pro.

"Al is going to be a terrific director and we're excited and honoured that he has chosen Apple as his first private sector board to serve on," Jobs said.

Gore is pleased with the new appointment: "Steve and his team have done an incredible job in making Apple once again the very best in the world," he said. "I have been particularly impressed with the new Mac OS X operating system and the company's commitment to the open-source movement. And I am especially looking forward to working with and learning from the great board members who have guided this legendary company's inspiring resurgence."

Gore became US vice president in 1993, and was re-elected in 1996. He served for a total of eight years as president of the Senate, a member of the cabinet and the National Security Council.

He also popularized the term "information superhighway" as a member of the US Congress 25 years ago, and was instrumental in fighting for federal funds to assist in what later became the Internet. He has remained an active technology leader and was involved in a public/private effort to wire every classroom and library in the US to the Internet.

Gore serves as a senior advisor to search-engine Google, and is a visiting professor at California Los Angeles, Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University.

Gore studied at Harvard, where he received his BA in Government in 1969.