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Longtime Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced this morning that he will retire within 12 months, once the company picks his successor.
Ballmer made the announcement in a release posted on Microsoft’s site Friday morning. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer explained.
“We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team,” he added. “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.”
According to The New York Times, a special committee created by the board of directors will find a successor for Ballmer, who has lead the company since taking over from Bill Gates in 2000. Microsoft said that it will look at internal and external candidates.
While Microsoft remains a tech giant, Ballmer’s decision comes at an important time for a company that’s still trying to grapple with the consumer’s shift from desktops to laptops and smartphones, notes USA Today. Baller did oversee the company’s introduction of the Surface tablet, but the device hasn’t caught on and Microsoft was forced to lower the price. The company will also be introducing Windows 8.1 in October.
Baller, 57, told employees in a memo that the company’s “best days” are ahead. “Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions,” he 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.”
image: Wikimedia Commons