By Lance Whitney
Steve Ballmer will retire from his role as Microsoft CEO within the next 12 months, Microsoft announced Friday.
Ballmer will remain as chief executive until the board of directors chooses someone to succeed him.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in a statement. “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.”
Ballmer had more to say in an internal e-mail sent to Microsoft employees.
Microsoft’s board has set up a committee to pick the company’s next CEO. Comprised of board chairman and former CEO Bill Gates and other members of the board, the committee is working with an executive recruiting firm and said it will look at both internal and external candidates to fill the role.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” committee chairman John Thompson said in a statement. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the co