Microsoft Boss Steve Ballmer Announces Retirement
Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has announced plans to retire from Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.
After more than a decade at the helm of one of the world's largest and most respected companies, Ballmer says the time to step down has finally come. He is expected to leave within the next twelve months, although an exact date hasn't been announced.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, there's is no obvious #2 to step into the role being voided by Mr. Ballmer. Unlike Apple, for example, where Tim Cook was the clear successor to Steve Jobs, Microsoft must now begin the process of finding and grooming a replacement.
The fact that there isn't a clear second-in-command ready to pacify investors with his or her ascension to the big chair is likely why Ballmer's retirement will be drawn out over a twelve-month period.
According to AdAge, Microsoft's lead independent director, John Thompson, will lead the search for his successor. Thompson will head a search committee that will reportedly include no shortage of heavyweights, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer announced to Microsoft employees in a written note. "My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our transformation to a devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."
Shares of Microsoft actually rose on Wall Street after the Ballmer news was announced today.