Microsoft has today announced that CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to step down and retire as CEO within the next 12 months. According to the company, Ballmer will continue as CEO until then, and assist in the transitioning stages.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
A special committee has been put in place to direct the process of appointing a new CEO, which include John Thompson, Bill Gates and Steve Luczo.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”
“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Upon the news of Ballmer's retirement, Microsoft's stocks rose 8 percent.