Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to step down

Microsoft Corp. announced Friday that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will be retiring within the next 12 months. Ballmer will continue to serve in his role until Microsoft has chosen a successor.

“We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing senior leadership team,” Ballmer said in a news release. “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 appointed by Microsoft’s board of directors will be heading the process to select a new CEO. The committee, with the help of executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., will be considering both internal and external candidates for the position.

Ballmer started at Microsoft in 1980, and became CEO in 2000. He has more than tripled Microsoft’s revenue and doubled profits since assuming leadership in 2000, according to the company.


“I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success,” Ballmer said in an email announcing his resignation sent to staff. “I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft’s largest owners.”

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and the one who got Ballmer to join the company 33 years ago said, “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

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