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Steve Ballmer, who succeeded Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as chief executive of the company, will retire within the next 12 months, the software giant said Friday.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Mr. Ballmer said in a statement on the company’s Web site.
Mr. Ballmer will stay on until a successor is chosen by a special committee of the board of directors that includes John W. Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and Mr. Gates, chairman of the company. The committee will consider both internal and external candidates, the company said.
“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,” Mr. Ballmer said in the statement. “We need a C.E.O. who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
In premarket trading, Microsoft stock jumped more than 8 percent to nearly $ 35 a share.