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Microsoft CEO Ballmer to retire within a year
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today announced that he's retiring within a year, and he plans on making the most of his remaining time on board with the corporation that was founded in 1975.
He'll step down after his successor is chosen, he noted in an email to employees this morning.
“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. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
Ballmer will continue to serve as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company.
"This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most," Ballmer said about his retirement. He looks forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.
Microsoft's board of directors has appointed a special committee to search for its next CEO. John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, will chair the committee, which includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said in a press release. “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.”
Gates added in the press release: “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. We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Ballmer noted that Microsoft has grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since he joined the company in 1980, expanding its employee base from more than 30 people from its inception to almost 100,000 today. He said that he appreciates Microsoft's employees and their talent (even their quirks), the way Microsoft has teamed up with other companies to find success and the breadth and diversity of its customers.
"Microsoft has all its best days ahead. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions," Ballmer said. "I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let’s do ourselves proud."