Steve Ballmer of Microsoft shocked the tech world by announcing his resignation as CEO within the next six months. Ballmer would retire “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.”
Microsoft shares jumped 9% after the announcement came out. But since joining Microsoft 13 years ago, Microsoft shares have dropped 40%. Ballmer wrote a letter to Microsoft staff announcing his resignation:
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.
Typically CEO’s might be seduced by higher salaries elsewhere…but given Steve Ballmer being worth $15,200,000,000, this might not be the case. Although Microsoft has seen its share price rising on news of the resignation, I think investors are getting too far ahead of themselves. This man has 13 years experience, Bill has had faith in him for all this time for a reason. Who else will take over as CEO? This is a $78,000,000,000 company, not a Deli in Santa Monica so whoever those investors have their hopes on better deliver. Microsoft is on the right track at the moment thanks to Ballmer, if they want to stay that way, they’ll need to avoid hiring someone like Marissa – spend money on cool websites – Mayer.
THE VERGE: Dieter Bohn and resident Microsoft expert Tom Warren got together for a special discussion on Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement
Mayer vs Meyer – Selina Meyer or Marissa Mayer for Microsoft CEO?