Microsoft: Planning for Ballmer's departure began three to four years ago

If the announcement today that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be retiring in the next 12 months caught many people outside the company by surprise, it apparently was not much of a shock for some inside Microsoft. Today, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley said she spoke with both Ballmer and Microsoft reps today and the company told her that the CEO succession plans actually began three to four year ago.

Foley made those comments in a special report on today, and added that Microsoft reps said that the company's special committee has already started interviewing candidates for the CEO role, both from within and from outside Microsoft. In other words, this company is already quite active in selecting who will lead Microsoft after Ballmer leaves.

Foley said that her impression of Ballmer in speaking with him today was one of sadness coming from the CEO. Ballmer told her that he came to work today and someone told him, "Congratulations" on the news of his retirement. He said that while that is the standard thing that people say when they learn someone is retiring, he did really think of it that way. Hopefully we will learn more from that interview in the near future.

Source: | Image via Microsoft

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