BREAKING NEWS: Steve Ballmer to Retire from Microsoft in Twelve Months

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer to Retire Next Year

by Anton Shilov
08/23/2013 | 06:20 AM

Microsoft Corp. today announced that chief executive officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Mr. Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most. The company will consider both internal and external candidates for new CEO.


“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,” said Mr. Ballmer.

The board of directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process. This committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and 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, a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.

“As a member of the succession planning committee, I will work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO. We are fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties,” said Bill Gates, a co-founder and chairman of Microsoft. 

It is remarkable that Steve Ballmer decided to leave Microsoft just a month after he announced major reorganization plan. While by the time the new chief executive officer takes the reigns Microsoft’s transformation will either be at full swing or largely completed, the new chief executive will still likely make changes to the company, just like any other new CEO would do. It is clear that the new chief exec will share Mr. Ballmer’s vision about the future of Microsoft, he/she will still need to tailor the company for himself/herself. As a result, Microsoft will be under reorganization for at least several quarters, not a good news for the company.

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the company’s first business manager. Before becoming CEO in 2000, his roles at Microsoft included senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software and vice president of marketing.

Mr. Ballmer and the company's leaders focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most. Under his leadership, Microsoft has more than tripled revenue and doubled profits since 2000.

Steve Ballmer was born in March 1956, and he grew up near Detroit where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Co. Ballmer earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Harvard University. He worked for two years at Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager and attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business before joining Microsoft.