CEO to step down early after a shaky tenure [Virginian - Pilot]
(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) From wire reports
Steven Ballmer, who took over as chief executive of Microsoft in 2000 from its co-founder, Bill Gates, announced Friday that he would retire from the company within the next 12 months, somewhat sooner than he had anticipated and leaving no obvious successor.
Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in 1980, will be departing a company that is very different from the fearsome software giant of the 1990s. During his tenure as chief, the company has failed to capitalize on some of the most important tectonic shifts in technology, including the rise of mobile devices and Internet search.
Ballmer also watched as Apple, an old nemesis that nearly went bankrupt in the late 1990s, and Google, which didn't even exist until then, have soared.
As chief executive, he has faced regular calls for his ouster from investors and analysts in recent years because of the company's missteps. But Microsoft said the decision to leave the company was entirely Ballmer's.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said.
Ballmer, 57, will stay on until a successor is chosen by a special committee of the board that includes John W. Thompson, the board's lead independent director, and Gates, Microsoft's chairman. The committee has hired an executive search firm to scout for a replacement.
Ballmer, the world's 44th-richest person, saw his net worth jump $786 million after announcing his retirement from the world's largest software maker.
Microsoft shares rose 7.3 percent to $34.75 at the close of trading in New York. The stock has gained 30.1 percent during the year, driving up Gates's fortune by 15.4 percent and Ballmer's by 21.5 percent.
Ballmer has a net worth of $16.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
This story was compiled from reports by The New York Times and Bloomberg News.
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