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Microsoft expects appointment of new CEO early next year: board member

SEATTLE--The board member leading Microsoft Corp.'s search for a new chief executive said on Tuesday he expects an appointment to be made early next year, the first time the board has been so specific on timing.

The announcement suggests the world's biggest software company is nearing the end of its search for a new leader, which began in August when Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire within 12 months.

Microsoft pledged to pick a successor within that timeframe, although most investors had expected the process to be finished by December or January.

“It's a complex job. I don't think it's surprising that it is taking some time to try to find the right person,” said Kirk Materne, an analyst at Evercore Partners.

Microsoft shares were down 1.1 percent at US$36.47 on Nasdaq.

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