Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire

Top executive at Xbox company will retire in the next 12 months; "Now is the right time," he says.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire in the next 12 months, the company announced today. He will officially step down upon the completion of a process to choose his successor, the company said, though no front-runners were named.

"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a statement. "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."

Ballmer is a longtime Microsoft employee and has served as its CEO since 2000. According to Forbes, his estimated net worth is $15.2 billion.

Microsoft's board of directors has established a special committee to direct the selection process for Ballmer's successor. This committee is chaired by the board's lead independent director, John Thompson, as well as chairman of the board Bill Gates, among others.

The board is working with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., and will consider both internal and external candidates, Microsoft said.

"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. "We're fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties."

Microsoft's announcement of Ballmer's retirement comes a month after the executive laid out his vision for "One Microsoft" that aims to enable the company to operate at "greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world."

Former Xbox division boss Don Mattrick left Microsoft in July to join Zynga as its new CEO. Leading the company's gaming endeavors moving forward is Julie Larson-Green, a 19-year company veteran.

The Xbox One launches in November for $500.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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1109 comments
Gargus
Gargus

Good. He should have left a long time ago.

Gazdakka
Gazdakka

My favourite quote was from one of Ballmer's highly-acclaimed speeches:

"Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!"

YEAH!

wonzan
wonzan

First the head of Xbox quits and now Balmer. Camp microsoft doesn't seem to be in peace........shame the charismatic leader in Bill gates is no longer there to rein in the money hungry suits of the company.

BlazingSpeed
BlazingSpeed

@oskuuu thanks for that link the comment near the bottom of the article explains the situation much better than the article itself does.

ORB1T4LOne
ORB1T4LOne

I don't care what kind of money he made, I don't care if the guy is an astronaut and he went to other worlds in a secret government program, I'm happy this a**hole is gonna retire, probably the best news of the last few weeks !

dkeppens
dkeppens

So, the new direction is still service offerings. That raises serious questions about the future of xbox one. Not that i'm buying any new console, since i'll never pay to play multiplayer, but seems it's clear that they're not completely off their original idea for their glorified set-top box. Not that that is surprising in any way

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

Probably a good thing, they need an injection of new blood.

DrKill09
DrKill09

I'm sure he'll pull an XBox 180. 

TristanPR77
TristanPR77

Xbone fiasco casualties so far:

Adam Orth

Don Mattrick 

Steve Ballmer

What a troublesome console

jeffrobin
jeffrobin

@TristanPR77 Those aren't casualties, they needed to go and should have gone a lot earlier.

strothers101
strothers101

15.2 ....personally I would have been happy with 15.1 but hey, maybe the guy is just an over achiever.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@strothers101 

Dude, don't be greedy.  14.9 billion should be enough for anybody.  Also, 640 kb of ram should also be enough for everyone.

enoslives7
enoslives7

Sony and Nintendo are very sad over this announcement. 

Too bad greed will always override common sense at microsofty.

tightwad34
tightwad34

Hell, I would have retired when I hit one billion, or maybe even before that.

Bigjoe1627
Bigjoe1627

Don Mattrick quite Microsoft because he could not deal with that bull they tried to pull with Xbox One.

nyzma23
nyzma23

$15.2 billion he is richer than sony dang..

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Bigjoe1627 Well, to be fair that's how much he's "worth" right now. He probably didn't make that much in 13 years. I highly doubt his salary was over $1billion per year with bonuses included. He just invested wisely.

Dav_id83
Dav_id83

@tightwad34 @Bigjoe1627 His share prices would of made him quite a lot too he's be a fool not to have any MS shares and his retirement sent them rocking the other day.

Hurvl
Hurvl

And at the end of the article is the video "why the Xbox is losing" which is oddly fitting, because they've also been losing people. First it was Mr #dealwithit and now it's Mr Baldmer, sorry, I mean Ballmer. Other companies have also lost people lately, so the times of change are upon us.

Karchy
Karchy

Grumpy Cat can do his job

obsequies
obsequies

they should make a move about his amazing life lol

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Good.  He did nothing but hurt the company.

He seemed to be fuelled by nothing but anger and jealousy.

Although I guess it worked for Steve Jobs.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

.....and all chairs around the world shall breathe a sigh of relief, in this day in history.