In an email to Microsoft employees, Ballmer describes, “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.”

Microsoft have said that Ballmer will continue to lead the company through the next stage of the company’s transformation to a devices and services company, focused on empowering customers in the activities they value the most.

Ballmer acknowledges that “This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft… We need a CEO who will be here for the long term for this new direction.”

Steve Ballmer took over from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as CEO in January 2000. Under Ballmer’s control, Microsoft have made fundamental strategic changes to their products and offerings – driving a cloud computing strategy with acquisitions of products such as Skype and the release of Windows 8.

Who will be next?

Microsoft have described that the process of choosing a successor to Ballmer has been appointed to a special committee, chosen by the Board of Directors.

The committee will be chaired by the Board’s lead independent director, John Thompson, and includes Chairman of the Board, Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee, Chuck Noski, and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luozo.

Working with Heidrick and Struggles International Inc, a leading executive recruiting firm, Microsoft says “they will consider external and internal candidates” for the role.

The question is, how will the candidate fulfil the title and how will they help Microsoft through “this time of important transformation” that Steve Ballmer himself declared Microsoft are in?

John Thompson explained, “the Board are focussed on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute it in a highly competitive industry.”

Bill Gates reassures, “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties…. 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.”

The Farewell

Describing his retirement plans, Ballmer explains “This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love… I am proud of what we have achieved… I love the way we helped invent and popularise computing and the PC.”

The final farewell in his email left a positive enforcement about Microsoft’s direction to the employees:

“Microsoft has all its best days ahead. Know you are part of the best team in the industry and have the right technology assets. We cannot and will not miss a beat in these transitions.”

There have been mixed reactions to both Ballmer’s leadership at Microsoft and his decision to retire.

With our strategic alliance with Microsoft, we at QGate consider a fresh pair of eyes working with Microsoft in their transformation and development period can only bring positive changes to the organisation’s plans.

We look forward to seeing what is still to come from Microsoft’s transitions.

Nicola Manning

Marketing Communications Coordinator

QGate