Steve Ballmer’s retirement has been confirmed by Microsoft, with the longstanding CEO to leave the company within the coming year.
With Ballmer having handed in a 12 month period of notice as Microsoft CEO, the Windows and Surface Pro manufacturer has revealed that it will use the coming year to find a suitable successor.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in an official release sent out by Microsoft. “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.”
The 57 year old added: "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."
Since the announcement of Ballmer's impending retirement, Microsoft's share prices have risen a full nine per cent suggesting investors have not had much faith in the outgoing leader.
Having taken the helm at Microsoft back in 2000, Ballmer has led the company through a tumultuous 13 years having seen global successes and some less glittering moments. While the likes of the Windows OS and Microsoft Xbox 360 continue to dominate their respective fields, in recent times Microsoft has seen its Windows Phone 8 platform fail to gain much market share while a mass of unsold Surface RT tablets remain in storage.
Microsoft has confirmed that it has appointed a special committee, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, to search for a new CEO. It has stated it will consider both internal and external candidates.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” John Thompson, Independent Director of the Microsoft board 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.”
Gates added: “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 is widely considered one of the tech industry’s more colourful characters and has often courted controversy.
Last year the outgoing Microsoft CEO lambasted both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems in launching the latest iteration of the Windows Phone.
"The ecosystem of Android is a little wild," he said. "Conversely, Apple's system looks highly controlled and quite high prices."
With Microsoft having made the announcement public, Ballmer has sent an email to all Microsoft employees detailing his decision to retire and declaring his continued love and support for the company.
He stated: "Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace their range of capabilities, including their quirks. I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our customers, from consumer to enterprise, across industries, countries, and people of all backgrounds and age groups.
"I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history.
"I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success. I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners."
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