Steve Ballmer announced to an arena of Microsoft employees that, after 33 years with the company, he will resign as its CEO within 12 months.
On June 11, 1980, Steve Ballmer became the 30th member of the Microsoft company and the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. In 1981, Microsoft became incorporated, and Ballmer acquired 8 percent of the company. He then sold a portion of his shareholdings, leaving himself with a 4% stake. His current net worth is estimated at around $18 billion according to the Forbes 400 list.
During his time at Microsoft, Ballmer ran several company divisions, including sales and support, operations and operating systems development. In 1998, he became the number 2 guy behind Chairman and CEO Bill Gates after being promoted to President of the company. His promotion caused him to relinquish his title as Executive Vice President of Sales and Support.
Ballmer has worn many hats at Microsoft and is accredited with much of the company's early successes. After becoming the official CEO of the corporation in 2000, Microsoft's annual revenue grew from $25 billion to $70 billion, with an annual gross profit higher than that of Google's.
In more recent years, however, Microsoft made many missteps - much of which was seen as poor leadership by Ballmer. Under his leadership, Microsoft missed many tech trends, causing the company to play catch up. Innovations like Zune and Windows Vista failed miserably. Bing (Microsoft's search engine), controls less than 10% market share compared to Google's 85%. The company also missed the social media and handheld tablet trends, allowing companies like Apple and Google to surge past it in innovation.
Ballmer is known for his flamboyant stage presence and his talent for public speaking which he often used to energize and motivate employees. His farewell speech was no different. His energy was high, and the arena was attentive. "This is my whole professional world...Microsoft is like a fourth child to me," he said tearfully. Leading up to end of his speech, 'Time Of my Life,' the theme song from the movie Dirty Dancing was played at his request.
(video via youtube.com)
(reference via wikipedia)