Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is set to retire as CEO within the next 12 months citing there has never been a perfect time to do so than now as the firm tries to focus on mobile devices.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “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.”
Ballmer 57, will remain CEO until a successor is chosen. He took over from Bill Gates as CEO in 2000 and has been heavily criticized for Microsoft’s failure to effectively compete giants Apple and Google on devices and services.
Microsoft’s Board of Directors has appointed a special committee chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director to direct the process. This committee includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
Gates, the firm’s founder said, “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,” and added “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Microsoft is working hard to get back to its former glory, transforming to a devices and a services firm. The new CEO, will have to be able to drive back to hardware where it has blatantly failed with the recent price slash and recall of its Surface tablets that it took a $900 million charge for unsold Surface RT tablets.
Ballmer met Gates in 1973 at Harvard University and in 1980 he joined Microsoft. He has worked at Microsoft for 33 years just as Gates who left Microsoft in 2008.