Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, will be leaving the company in the next 12 months, according to the company. Ballmer will stay on as CEO until his replacement has been found, which Microsoft says they will look for both internally and externally. Ballmer isn’t the only person to leave Microsoft this year, Don Mattrick left the company in July for a position at Zynga as their new CEO.
Ballmer wrote a letter to employees stating that his ideal retirement time would have been in the middle of a transition for Microsoft towards a “devices and services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most”. However, the company needed a CEO that would be able to stay on much longer than that. Ballmer goes on to praise the company in his letter as well as mentioning how much he loves the company.
Ballmer’s replacement will be chosen by Microsoft’s board of directors with help from the recruiting firm Heidrick and Struggles International Inc. Ballmer will be leaving, and his replacement stepping in, within the first year of Xbox One’s release.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “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.”
A special committee has been put in place to direct the process of appointing a new CEO, which include John Thompson, Bill Gates and Steve Luczo.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”
“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,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
The new CEO, it seems, will be tasked with helping push interconnected Microsoft devices. Microsoft has started this with the integration between the Surface tablet and Xbox One. Such games as Dead Rising 3 and Halo will have or have apps on the tablet where you can interact with the game using the device. I imagine that Microsoft wants to include more connectivity between the devices, such as possibly streaming games to the Surface tablet or maybe even trying to compete better with home entertainment boxes like the Roku and Apple TV. Microsoft already has streaming services on their consoles, however you have to pay for a gold membership to even be able to access them. We will just have to wait and see what Microsoft has in store for the future.