Microsoft CEO Ballmer has to retire with in 12 months. Microsoft CEO Ballmer has to retire with in 12 months. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced Friday morning that he’s planning to leave the company at some point within the next 12 months. However, don’t expect him to run out the clock.
In an open letter to employees being hosted on The Verge, Ballmer revealed that he will leave as soon as a successor is chosen. You can read the entire letter there, but here’s the key point: “I am writing to let you know that I will retire as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 months, after a successor is chosen. There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. 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.” There’s the usual rambling about how much Steve Ballmer liked his time at Microsoft and how much he accomplished. He noted that they grew from a small $7.5 million company employing 30 to a $78 billion giant employing 100,000 who serve 1 billion users. The stock market seemed to believe it was time for Steve Ballmer to announce he was leaving MSFT. CNBC said that the stock soared 7 percent on the news — “adding a whopping $24 billion to the software company’s market capitalization from Thursday’s close.” Of course, Thursday was a strange day for all stocks traded on the NASDAQ, including MSFT. The exchange went down for three hours during the middle of the day because of a technical glitch before it could re-open for limited trading. Now there will be fevered speculation about who will be the next MSFT CEO. Nonetheless, CEO Steve Ballmer’s departure from Microsoft will truly be the end of an era.