Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is to retire from the technology giant within the next 12 months.
Shares in Microsoft, criticised for its slow response to the booming market for mobile devices, leapt 9% on the news.
Mr Ballmer, who last month unveiled a restructuring to address the criticism, said in a statement: “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.
“We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
The world’s biggest software company has created a special committee to find a replacement. This committee includes Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Mr Ballmer, 57, succeeded Mr Gates in 2000. The two men met in 1973 while studying at Harvard University, and Mr Ballmer joined the company in 1980.
Source: BBC News (Tech)