"Microsoft Has All Its Best Days Ahead"
Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer will retire from his position within the year, having spent more than three decades at the company. The search for a replacement begins.
Ballmer announced his decision in an internal Microsoft email, which was transcribed in an official press release entitled "moving forward."
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” he wrote.“My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.
“I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.
“I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way."
Ballmer was the first business manager Bill Gates ever hired, joining Microsoft back in 1980. Since then, he headed up several divisions before being promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2000. Though primarily famed for his "enthusiastic" public appearances and a few bullish decisions over the last few years, he's certainly made an impact.
He'll now oversee the hunt for a replacement, backed up by a special committee greenlit by the Microsoft Board. Bill Gates joins him in the search, alongside independent director John Thompson, Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo and Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski (no, not Norris).
"This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do," Ballmer concluded. "I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most.
"Microsoft has all its best days ahead. Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions. I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let’s do ourselves proud."
Microsoft share prices have jumped by 7.8% following the news.
It's perhaps an odd time for Microsoft to search for a new top dog, especially since the company absolutely needs strong and decisive leadership during this critical next-gen console transition phase, alongside the continuing push to cement Windows 8's popularity and rebrand as a services provider. What do you make of it?