Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next year, the company announced today. A special committee and Ballmer will help hand pick a successor. The committee is headed up by lead independent director John Thompson and includes chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," commented Ballmer. "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."
"The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company," added Thompson. "As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company's senior leadership team to chart the company's course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry."
Ballmer helped found Microsoft alongside Bill Gates and has been there since the very beginning. He took over when Bill Gates decided to step down from the position and lessen his role in the company.