Microsoft announced today that CEO Steve Ballmer is going to retire within the next 12 months. Ballmer will remain CEO as he oversees the choice of his successor.
A special committee has been appointed by the Microsoft board. The committee will be chaired by lead independent director John Thompson. The board includes chairman of the Board Bill Gates, chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo, chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said. "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," said 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 will be looking at both internal and external candidates for Ballmer's successor. The special committee will work with the executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc.