Microsoft's Ballmer to Power Down

Microsoft's Ballmer to Power Down

 “Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets,” Steve Ballmer said.

The tide is turning at Microsoft Corp. (IW 500/16).

As the company reinvents itself as a devices and services company, shedding its storied past as a software provider, its top executive, also is parting ways.

CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next year, once his successor is chosen.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer wrote in an email to employees. “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.”

Microsoft’s board of directors has set up a special committee, which will work with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., an executive recruiting firm, to search for a successor among both internal and external candidates.

“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 Bill Gates, chairman of the board of directors.

The committee also includes Chuck Noski, chairman of the audit committee; and Steve Luczo, chairman of the compensation committee; and is chaired by John Thompson the board’s lead independent director.

 “Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets,” Ballmer wrote. “I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together.”

Ballmer, who for 13 years has served as CEO, has spent 33 years at the company. He will remain one of Microsoft’s largest owners. 

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