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.