Microsoft's Search for a New CEO Begins

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer has announced plans to leave the Redmond, Washington-based firm in the next twelve months. It's a monumental change for a firm going through a difficult period in its history.

Ballmer, who is 57 years old and originally joined Microsoft in 1980, says his firm has already appointed a special committee to interview candidates for the position. Microsoft co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates is said to be on that special committee.

Dramatic End to a Roller Coaster Career

Ballmer's tenure as CEO has been a tumultuous one.

Ballmer was named CEO more than thirteen years ago, meaning he saw Microsoft through the release of several versions of Windows (some popular, some not-so-much) and a number of hardware products, including the Zune media player, Xbox video game console, and Surface tablet computer.

Ballmer faced intense scrutiny in the wake of the Windows 8 and Surface failures.

Perhaps that's why the value of Microsoft shares shot up shortly after news of Ballmer's resignation plans went public.

It's Time For Change, Ballmer Says

For his part, Ballmer says the time is right for a transition at the top. "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a statement released to the press. (Source:

The Microsoft CEO went on to say that Microsoft needs a new chief executive who can commit to the role for a longer term.

Ballmer also took a moment to comment on his own legacy. In his statement, Ballmer noted that Microsoft went from a $7.5 million firm in 1980 to $78 billion today.

The number of people working for the firm has also skyrocketed during that time, from thirty in 1980 to almost 100,000 today.

Ballmer concluded by saying that he made the decision with the best interests of his company in mind.

"I take this step in the best interests of the company I love," Ballmer said. "It is the thing outside of my family and closest friends that matters to me most."

Long List of Candidates for Microsoft's Top Job

The focus now turns to who might replace Ballmer as CEO. Internal candidates include chief operating officer Kevin Turner, executive vice president of marketing Tami Reller, and executive vice presidents Tony Bates and Satya Nadella.

External candidates could include Nokia chief executive officer Stephen Elop and even former Windows division leader Steven Sinofsky. (Source:

Rate this article: 
No votes yet