Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Retire

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Retire

Microsoft  Corp. announced this morning that CEO Steve Ballmer intends to retire within the next 12 months. The company released a formal statement outlining some of the company’s plans for finding his replacement, as the tech giant continues to increase its presence as a mobile device and service company.

“We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction,” Ballmer said. “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.”

Ballmer has served for Microsoft for 32 years and became its CEO in 2000. The company has struggled in the past decade, as the computer hardware industry continues its sharp transition away from desktop personal computers toward handheld mobile devices. It was announced in July that the company had severely missed both its cash inflow and profit projections.

Microsoft’s Board of Directors has created a special committee to oversee the company’s search for a new CEO. Among the members of the committee are lead independent director John Thompson, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski, Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo and Chairman of the Board Bill Gates. Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., an independent consulting firm, has been recruited to assist the Board.

“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,” Gates said. Both Gates and Ballmer have expressed optimism for Microsoft’s future and insist that the company’s outlook remains positive. “Microsoft has its best days ahead,” Ballmer said in an email to Microsoft employees.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. are trading up 7.10 percent at press time.