Redmond, Wash.—Microsoft Corp. announced Friday that CEO Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months. Ballmer, who has been CEO of the company since 2000, plans to continue in that post until a successor is found.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in a statement. “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 Microsoft board has appointed a special committee to oversee the selection of the company’s next CEO. It is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, among others. The committee is working with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International and will consider both external and internal candidates.