Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer today announced his plans to retire within the next 12 months once his successor has been chosen.

Microsoft issued a press release confirming Ballmer would remain on as CEO while the company continues its transition into a “devices and services company.”

“We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction,” Ballmer said in the press release.

Microsoft’s Board has appointed a special committee to find Ballmer’s replacement. The committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo.

In an internal email sent to Microsoft employees, Ballmer wrote, “I am proud of what we have achieved. We have grown from $7.5 million to nearly $78 billion since I joined Microsoft, and we have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000.”

In April, Microsoft posted third quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates, calming some fears that the software giant would fall silent as the world continually turns away from PCs.

Following the news, Microsoft's stock is up nearly 7 percent.