In a statement released yesterday, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer announces his retirement. Mr. Ballmer has been the top executive for the software giant since 2000, succeeding to Bill Gates.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. 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.” is quoted to have said Ballmer in a letter to all employees on Friday.
While it is unclear if this was planned or if it is a direct result of the under-performance of Microsoft’s most recent products, it seems the company hasn’t made a choice as to who will replace Mr. Ballmer. The board of directors has appointed a selection committee that will be tasked with finding a CEO to lead Microsoft through the reorganization process that was started by the departing chief executive. Mr. Gates will seat on the selection committee along other executives and consultants.
“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,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
While only time will tell if this a is good or a bad move for Microsoft by Mr. Ballmer, investors seem to find it is for the best. The company’s stock rose 7.29% (MSFT) in the wake of the announcement.
Steve Ballmer has been with Microsoft since 1980 and was the company’s first business manager. He occupied a few vice president positions before becoming chief executive officer in 2000 when Bill Gates stepped down.