Steve Ballmer Retiring As Microsoft CEO - Here's His Letter To Employees

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft has decided to step down in the next 12 months after a successor has been chosen. From the official press release and Steve's mail to employees (included below) it's clear that the company has no straightforward choice to fill the post. There are four key people in Microsoft who will help find Ballmer's replacement - John Thompson, Bill Gates, Chuck Noski and Steve Luczo. That said, we surely know that whoever comes to head Microsoft - is surely going to have a hard time match up with the zeal, motivation levels and extreme passion that Ballmer has had for the company.

Enclosed below are the official PR & Steve Ballmer's Email to all Microsoft Employees -

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

"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."

The Board of Directors has 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.

"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."
Steve's Email -

Moving forward

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. You can read the press release on Microsoft News Center.

This is a time of important transformation for Microsoft. Our new Senior Leadership team is amazing. The strategy we have generated is first class. Our new organization, which is centered on functions and engineering areas, is right for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Microsoft is an amazing place. I love this company. I love the way we helped invent and popularize computing and the PC. I love the bigness and boldness of our bets. I love our people and their talent and our willingness to accept and embrace their range of capabilities, including their quirks. I love the way we embrace and work with other companies to change the world and succeed together. I love the breadth and diversity of our customers, from consumer to enterprise, across industries, countries, and people of all backgrounds and age groups.

I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way. We have more than 1 billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders. We have delivered more profit and cash return to shareholders than virtually any other company in history.

I am excited by our mission of empowering the world and believe in our future success. I cherish my Microsoft ownership, and look forward to continuing as one of Microsoft's largest owners.

This is an emotional and difficult thing for me to do. I take this step in the best interests of the company I love; it is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most.

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. I am focused and driving hard and know I can count on all of you to do the same. Let's do ourselves proud.



  • Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    At a hard time and heavy competition like now its hard to digest the news.It was sure that it will be difficult for MS to choose a right successor .Hope MS comes out of the hard time.
  • Gurjap
    Well, what do you know. Good old Steve, slain by the failed Surface tablet. I wonder if Bill would be back.
  • Abhishek Rawal
    Abhishek Rawal
    - Vista was Flop, Sinofsky saved MS with 7. But 8 by Ballmer was shitload.
    - WP8 did some gain but that just because BB & Nokia was conquered. Those Ads showing WP8 better than iPad never helped 'em.
    - When Bill Gates was CEO of MS : 1 share = $55.45 & then Ballmer became new CEO then by end of 2000 1 share = $35 & lastly by end of 2013 1 share = $32.
    Women lies, numbers don't.

    Steve Ballmer = Worst MS CEO
  • Kaustubh Katdare
    Kaustubh Katdare
    Bill Gates won't and should not return. That'd be a sign of Bill Gates' failure to produce leadership within the company to sail it forward in challenging waters. I'm confident Bill Gates won't do it. He's got a better job of controlling world population through his Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.

    I think Microsoft would look at someone who can stay for at least 10-15 years so that he/she can draft a vision for the company and execute it. I also believe Microsoft will look for proven leadership within the organization than look outside for help.

    The selection team has a long time to hire the right candidate. We'll see who takes the top job at Microsoft.

    I also wonder whether Steve Ballmer will have a complete retirement from the tech scene or will continue to wander around.
  • Nayan Goenka
    Nayan Goenka
    I too believe Bill Gates is better suited for this job. He has performed extremely well in the past and his effort have taken MS to the esteem heights. Steve on the other hand screwed a lot of things. MS is still paying for it.
  • Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran
    Ericson's chief executive Hans Vestberg was among the favorites to be a succesor of Steve Ballmer and MS had said that it would be clear after january end.
    Hans Vestberg is a Swedish businessman and the current CEO of telecommunications company Ericsson. Vestberg is also the chairman of the Swedish Handball Association
  • Netradeep Dhonde
    Netradeep Dhonde
    The former head of the Business Division, responsible for the Microsoft Office and Microsoft Dynamics line of products, and a member of the company's senior leadership team Stephen Elop is also in consideration as the next CEO of Microsoft.
    He was then recruited as the CEO of Nokia....But after the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft, it was announced that Elop would stand down as Nokia's CEO to become Vice President of Microsoft's Devices & Services business unit.
    Considering his comeback i think there are chances of his name being shortlisted.
  • Sunil Singh
    Sunil Singh
    I feel that the new CEO of MS - if its an insider it should be Satya Nadella, as he has successfully run MS's most promising new business line. - if its an outsider it should be Ford CEO Allan Mulally, as he has done a brilliant job at both Boeing and at Ford.

You are reading an archived discussion.

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