Microsoft announced on Friday that CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months. He will step down once his successor has been chosen. Ballmer said this in an official Microsoft press release, “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.”
There will be a special committee to select Ballmer’s successor. The committee will include former CEO and company founder, Bill Gates. Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive recruitment firm has been recruited to assist with the search. Bill Gates said “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,” and adds that “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Since joining the company in 1980, Steve Ballmer has been in the Microsoft’s leadership team and takes over the role of CEO when Bill Gates steps down from the role in 2000. He took the firm from primarily a software manufacturer to become a hardware maker in its own right, producing the Windows Phone platform and Surface tablets. Although his great success has been punctuated by major missteps as well. Ballmer concedes that the time has come to find a new boss to drive the company’s transformation to its conclusion.