Microsoft: Ballmer to retire within three months

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months.

Ballmer will retire upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. He will continue to serve as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company, the company said.

“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.”

The company’s Board of Directors appointed a special committee to direct the process. This 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.

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