IT major Microsoft Corporation on Friday said its Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire from his position within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor.
"In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most," Microsoft Corporation said in a statement on Friday.
Ballmer said: "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time."
"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," he said.
The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process.
The committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board's lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo.
The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
Thompson said, "The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company."
"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," Thompson said.
Gates said: "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."
He said, "We're fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties."