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Steve Ballmer to retire as Microsoft CEO within next 12 months

updated 09:39 am EDT, Fri August 23, 2013

Ballmer to remain CEO until replacement chosen by board committee

Steve Ballmer will retire as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft within the next 12 months. The announcement from the software maker states that he will step down once a successor has been chosen, with Ballmer continuing as CEO in the mean time in order to continue directing the company after it recently undertook a management reshuffle and a change in focus to services and devices.

The statement and accompanying internal e-mail from Ballmer to Microsoft employees does not hint at the reasoning behind the change of CEO. "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," wrote Ballmer, later advising that his original retirement plans would have occurred "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 of Directors at Microsoft has now appointed a special committee to select the next CEO. Members of the committee includes lead independent director John Thompson and chairman Bill Gates, with Heidrick & Struggles working with the group to go through internal and external executive candidates. "As a member of the succession planning committee, I'll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO," said Gates, continuing "We're fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties."

Ballmer initially joined Microsoft as employee number thirty in 1980, and succeeded Gates as CEO in 2000. The company has felt pressure to drop Ballmer a few times during his tenure, after a relative lack of improvement on share prices and financial performance. The next CEO could face similar pressures if investors and executives don't see a quick-enough improvement.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. P

    Moderator

    Joined: 04-07-00

    I thought the day would never come. He has truly overstayed his welcome. The problem for MS is that Ballmer has pushed out all the plausible inside candidates. Someone like Sinofsky or Elop would probably have jumped at the chance and done a good job, but they're out now. The announcement sounds like they're searching outside the company and don't have a name in mind - absolutely terrible. Would be interesting if they had Gates back as interim CEO - worked rather well for one other company, IIRC.

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-28-08

    Oh, noes. As an Apple shareholder, I'll be very sad when Ballmer leaves his post. He's done a great job of helping Apple pull away. I knew I could always count on Ballmer to keep Microsoft from ever getting back on track.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by PView Post

    I thought the day would never come. He has truly overstayed his welcome. The problem for MS is that Ballmer has pushed out all the plausible inside candidates. Someone like Sinofsky or Elop would probably have jumped at the chance and done a good job, but they're out now. The announcement sounds like they're searching outside the company and don't have a name in mind - absolutely terrible. Would be interesting if they had Gates back as interim CEO - worked rather well for one other company, IIRC.



    If that goes the way it did back then, Tim Cook will show up on a screen and announce iWork availability for Windows Phone.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Crap. With someone else at the helm, Microsoft is going to finally become a viable competitor to Apple.

  1. makesense

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-08-07

    fantastic

  1. lvavila

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-21-11

    Balmer leaving is like Jobs coming back to Apple. Old ways out, new ways in!

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    This should be a warning to Apple that the hand-picked successor to the company's popular founder is no guarantee of continued success and growth.

  1. markcolangelo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-18-10

    overdue

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-06-01

    This should be a warning to Apple that the hand-picked successor to the company's popular founder is no guarantee of continued success and growth.

    I'm pretty sure that has occurred to them.

    Look at how many acquistions MS has completely f'd up under Ballmer and it's still a healthy (if not growing) company. They just wrote off something like $6B on a failed acquisition. They bought Danger (Sidekick maker) and ran them into the ground, pissing away not only $500M but the opportunity to get a foothold in mobile handsets while the smartphone market was still sort of up for grabs.

    Apple, OTOH, has more cash on hand than any company in the world. They could easily make a $6B mistake of an acquisition every year and be just fine. The fact that they've done nothing of the kind, the fact that they have the self-discipline to make small, targeted acquisitions rather than using the blunt force of their massive stockpile of cash says volumes about how well the company is run.

    Everybody hyperventilating about how Apple hasn't come out with a blockbuster product every year needs to take a deep breath. Cook has said 2014 will be the year we see amazing new products, and you can take that to the bank. He dropped similar hints about MacPro in 2013 and he made good on that.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 01-03-08

    Saying and doing are 2 different things...Ballmer is proof of that. Until Cook delivers that next great Apple product under his tenure as Steve did, it's merely conjecture that he will be as successful.

    Riding previous accomplishments is what Ballmer's tenure was all about. And by most accounts, his leadership, at best, has been seen as disappointing regardless of P&L. They were, at the time, the #1 company in the world with the largest cash reserve and the world's leading technology...now where do they stand?

    I'm not saying Cook will be as disappointing, but there is nothing to date that has established his tenure as an improvement over what he inherited. Steve certainly accomplished more in the same amount time upon his appointment...and with less to work with.

  1. Rapscallion

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-12-04

    Do you really think Apple is running on a post Jobs era plan yet? From business in the past Apple has planned years into the future just like any other decently run company. If you want to reflect on Cook only decisions, read the board minutes, or wait for a year or two. The hype with jumping on Apple without Jobs, is only that, hype.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-23-02

    Getting rid of Monkey Boy can only be a good thing for Microsoft. Maybe now they can make an operating system that doesn't suck and that people will buy.

  1. aviamquepasa

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-22-11

    Let's hope the successor will know something about technology ;-)

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Isn't he the guy who jumped around on stage like an unprofessional lunatic?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Correction: a professional lunatic.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    No. What he did was unprofessional.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    He saw it as the job he was paid to do.

    But you know, sometimes a quip is just a quip.

  1. Sphincty

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-29-06

    Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers. Developers.

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