SOFTWARE GIANT Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he will retire from the company within the next 12 months.
In a statement released on Friday, Ballmer said that he will leave the company as soon as the process of choosing his successor has been completed. Microsoft board director John Thompson will lead a committee that includes Bill Gates to find a new CEO.
Ballmer, who will continue to work as CEO of Microsoft until his replacement is chosen, said, "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.
"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's announcement comes shortly after he announced a major reorganisation at Microsoft, one of the largest in the company's history, which saw the firm being split into four engineering areas - OS, apps, cloud and devices. At the time, Ballmer said that this meant Microsoft was becoming "one company, not a collection of divisional strategies", but it looks like even he wasn't too convinced by his own plans.
It also comes at a tough time for Microsoft. The firm's Xbox launch hasn't gone entirely to plan, with the firm making a number of U-turns to appease potential customers, and its Windows 8 operating system that it launched last year hasn't done well.
Following news of Ballmer's announcement Microsoft's share price leaped 8.1 percent in early trading.
We will leave you with our favourite video of Ballmer in action. µ