There is no date set for the retirement of the CEO of Redmond-based Microsoft, other than it will be sometime in the next 12 months. Steve Ballmer will step down after running the Redmond company ever since co-founder and chairman Bill Gates stepped down in 2000. The big questions are why now? Whom will take over the reigns of the company? And is there an outside entity influencing the current movement?
In a statement on Microsoft's web site Mr. Ballmer writes that his retirement has been in works and that he simply moved it up because of the recent re-organization. While that statement by Mr. Ballmer sounds good on the surface there are a few reasons that one might wonder if that is completely true. If the re-organization is the real reason then why wait over a month to make the announcement? And moving his planned resignation up right when an outside investment group is trying to influence the board seems a bit suspecious.
“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.”
In the announced re-organization last month all the executives were shuffled around to head up specific divisions of the Redmond-based giant. With Mr. Ballmer leaving then it could mean either a re-shuffling of the deck, which would be counter to what Mr. Ballmer claimed as his reason for leaving or choosing someone from outside of the company. If it is the latter of these than just who could they be looking at to bring into the company?
With ValueAct Capital buying up a significant share of Microsoft's stock and try to get onto the board of directors will anyone that takes over the CEO position be able to function without their input?
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