Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Announces Retirement

Steve Ballmer - Shutterstock - © imagemaker

Steve Ballmer is to step down as Microsoft CEO in the next 12 months

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next twelve months, the company has confirmed.

Ballmer has held the position since 2000 and says it is the “right time” to step down and will continue as CEO until his successor is named by a special committee formed by the board of directors. The committee will be chaired by John Thompson, the board’s independent director and Chairman Bill Gates.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” says Ballmer. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team.

Steve Ballmer retires

Ballmer fist“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.”

“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,” adds Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”

Ballmer has faced a number of calls to step down in recent years amid suggestions Microsoft was stagnating under his leadership. Many have pointed out the company’s inability to make a significant impact on the mobile market as the single biggest failing.

Right time to go?

Former employee Joachim Kempin authored a book published earlier this year which claims Microsoft predicted many of the major developments in technology in the last decade, such as tablets, smartphones and social media, but failed to capitalise on any of them. He also alleges Ballmer uses bullying tactics to eject anyone he deems to be a threat.

Earlier this year, Gates admitted the company had made some mistakes in his mobile strategy and declined to give Ballmer his full backing. He did however point out a number of Ballmer’s achievements since he assumed control, including the Xbox.

Ballmer’s most recent action was to initiate a significant strategic overhaul of the company, which consolidated it into eight new divisions: engineering, marketing, business development and evangelism, advanced strategy and research, finance, HR, legal, and COO.

Analysts welcomed the restructure, but said the company would be in a better position had it been performed sooner.

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