Microsoft shares soar on news of boss ‘Monkey Boy’ Steve Ballmer's impending retirement
News of a change at the top sends the software behemoth’s shares soaring
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Friday 23 August 2013
Microsoft’s barrel-chested chief executive, renowned for his wonderfully over-zealous business presentations, is to retire from the business within the next year, the company said today.
Steve Ballmer, who earned the moniker “Monkey Boy” after arriving on stage jumping and whooping in front of his audience at the company’s 25th anniversary, has more recently come under pressure as the software giant fell behind rivals in the fast-growing market for smart phones and tablets.
Mr Ballmer, the company’s 30th employee, met Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates while both were studying at Harvard University in the 1970s. Joining the young business in 1980, he assumed the reins in 2000 of what by then was a software behemoth after Mr Gates stepped back to become chairman and spend more time working on his charitable foundation.
Unfortunately for investors, his seemingly boundless energy – which landed him in hospital after he reportedly damaged his vocal cords shouting “Windows! Windows!” at a sales meeting in Japan – did nothing for Microsoft, as scrappy Silicon Valley rivals such as Apple and Google colonised the market in new technologies.
News of his retirement sent Microsoft’s shares higher by around 8 per cent at one point in the morning, as the markets welcomed the prospect of a change at the top.
Microsoft said Mr Ballmer, whose personal net worth is estimated at around $15bn by Forbes magazine, would leave once a special committee of the board chooses a successor. Mr Gates will help select the company’s next boss.
News of Mr Ballmer’s departure comes on the heels of a company-wide move to reorganise the business, after he set in motion a plan to restructure Microsoft in a way that spurs the development of new products. The sweeping shake-up, unveiled last month, was seen as the company’s newest attempt to play catch-up with rivals.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Mr Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organisation 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.”
The last year has been a particularly tough one for Mr Ballmer. He spearheaded the launch of the newest avatar of Microsoft’s operating system – Windows 8 – and a line of tablet devices. Neither, however, has had the kind of the success that the company would have hoped for. Last month, it posted quarterly results that were below expectations in terms of both revenues and profits.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Cheryl Cole officially the 'most dangerous celebrity' on the internet
Ebola virus in the US: What are the symptoms, what is it and is there a cure?
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...