Ballmer to retire as Microsoft CEO

Change will happen within a year once successor is chosen

Steve Ballmer is to retire as Microsoft CEO within the next year, the company has revealed today, adding credence to the rumours of a management reshuffle which accompanied Don Mattrick's departure earlier this year.

Ballmer will oversee the choice of his successor before taking retirement and remain as CEO during that process. The Microsoft board has appointed a special committee chaired by lead independent director John Thompson and including 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."

Microsoft has said that it will be looking both internally and externally for candidates.

With the NASDAQ opening to the news of the voluble executive's departure, Microsoft stock has seen a sharp pre-market trading rise of over 9 per cent to $32.4 at the time of writing. Up to date prices reflecting current trading costs can be seen below.

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Latest comments (18)

Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee4 years ago
It does sound like the right sort of time to me, given the company's attempts to transition to a new era.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 4 years ago
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Brian Perry Studying Master Science Game Design, Full Sail University4 years ago
I'm hoping they transition to a company that is less of a multi-billion dollar patent troll. If they can learn as a company to compete fairly instead of destroying other businesses, this may be a welcome change. I doubt it since the old entrenched management will be overseeing the transition.
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Show all comments (18)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
It certainly raises the question of how cooperate environment PCs and Windows/Office will be sold in the future. Is Microsoft confident enough to think everybody is dependent enough on Windows that Microsoft can now go after their OEMs such as Dell and Lenovo?
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Kevin L. Clark Founder, Editor-In-Chief, Fresh Thinking Media Group, LLC4 years ago
If only the price of the console would go down. #noglitches
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 4 years ago
@Brian Perry

A little harsh calling them a troll.
You might not like the patent side of software but its known that Microsoft have invested huge amounts of money in R&D over the years and as a result have a large number of patents.
All large multi-nations software companies have owned and licensed patents and most of the time you never hear about it..
At least Microsoft produce products rather than truly trolling other companies with patents bought from others.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Donnelly on 23rd August 2013 3:52pm

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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic4 years ago
I have to feel a little sorry for a long-standing CEO whose departure announcement leads to an instant 9% rise in stock price >_< Best of luck to the team choosing his replacement. Decisions, decisions...
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises4 years ago
How many months now until Julie Larson-Green has that job?

She's definitely going to get it, because she's the Barack Obama of Microsoft. She's all over the news, she photographs and interviews well, and no one really knows what (if anything) she has accomplished there. But none of that really matters, because there's no possible way she can do a worse job as CEO than her predecessor.
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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College4 years ago
They should hire Scott McNealy.

That would sure give the industry a shake :)
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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College4 years ago
"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. "

Is it just me that is surprised to hear the Microsoft now wants to be Apple? That says an awful lot...
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Barbara Landgraf TAM, Microsoft4 years ago
I believe Apple is still a devices company with a consumer focus...carefully dipping their toes into the waters of an enterprise market... They are definitely not a services company.
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John Donnelly Quality Assurance 4 years ago
The market has been soft on Microsoft for a while and looking for more from them and from Ballmer as well.
This is part of the reason for the share price spike this morning.
Other factors are related to the Nasdaq halt yesterday, people looking to take profits on a quick jump - the price came close to a 52 week high today and just general market sentiment on the tech sector.
As it stands the price is still up about 5% but it could end the day flat over all.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 4 years ago
Happy news. I might not like Microsoft but we need the stability and a Microsoft without a madman at the helm has a lot more, less evil options available.

He did manage one good thing though, evicting expected successor Steven Sinofsky before going. With the chief architect of Win8 in charge change would have been difficult, maybe now they can pull back from the brink. That also raises promise that the XBone backtracking could become genuine, locked in change.
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Well they need a visionary, but in companies this size, at this point in their life cycle, they usually just get the next status quo company man/woman. Its all about short term stock manipulation, and short term goals, since those at the top all get paid via stock options.

It's sad to see companies built by visionaries slowly overcome by the spreadsheet MBA crews.
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Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster4 years ago
I was 8 years old when Ballmer took the helm. The entirety of my tech-interested life I have watched MS - who I praise as THE most influential and important tech companies in history - go from balls up to balls up. I have have personally wondered how a company manages to co-ordinate it's marketing so terribly to this day, and I have watched Apple capitalize on that and destroy it financially as a result, all whilst eating up freedoms that many of us enjoy on our computers.

I've watched him fudge up IE, fudge up Zune's marketing, fudge up Metro's marketing (despite the fact that iOS 7 is blatantly ripping it off), fudge up Vista, fudge up Windows Mobile marketing. Literally anywhere that requires marketing, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ballmer will mess it up.

I'm really happy to see him go, hopefully the next person won't try and emulate Apple too much, as is the trend. I don't want two walled gardens thanks. Honestly, if they tried to be a bit more like Google tech wise, but without all the cavorting behind the scenes, they have the potential to be at the top again.

Many people talk about 'mature businesses' and all that rubbish. That's just what it is. Rubbish. Windows is a mature business. Microsoft is not, they just need to actually start taking the helm and really attacking these emerging markets properly. e.g. Windows Mobile was great, but no backward compatibility (from 7.5/8), no multicore support till 8, and such little take up that you're left out in the rain as a result. I'd be giving out copies free with a contractual commitment to a certain marketing budget if I was you right now.

Then there's Surface Pro. Oh god. A tablet that everyone wants with a pricetag that nobody can stomach.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 23rd August 2013 7:05pm

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I was never a big fan of Mr. Ballmer, I recognize he was responsible for much of the MS strategy, but his extravagant style on stage was disconcerting, and now with the immanent restructuring seems to.illustrate a business approach that was wanting. The investors will have been happy to see that his fingers will be out of of the restructuring, but will not be happy with the level of animosity that recent MS executive departures have engendered with their core audience.

Frankly, many see these departures as abandonment of accountability if Windows8 and Xbone fail to the level some industry researchers are alluding too!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 26th August 2013 10:44am

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David Serrano Freelancer 4 years ago
Ballmer will oversee the choice of his successor before taking retirement
Um... no thanks?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 4 years ago
Too late.
Apple and Google are entrenched now.
Microsoft just failed to respond to customer demand. They thought that they could dictate when they should have been listening.
The next boss will have an immensely difficult job reversing the slide.
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