Steve Ballmer has spoken of his reasons for leaving Microsoft, maintaining that his retirement was not as a result of being pushed, but a personal decision he made after he realised he was slowing the company down.
"As much as I love everything about what I'm doing, the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change," he added.
While Microsoft's profits and share price have increased during Ballmer's 13-year reign he has been accused of missing the boat on some of the most key technology trends in recent years. They include smartphones and tablets, areas in which rivals Apple and Google have made up significant ground and left Microsoft playing catch-up.
Lead board director John Thompson told WSJ the board "didn't push Steve to step down, but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster."
Ballmer's replacement has yet to be decided, but one of the candidates said to be in the running is Ford co-chief executive Alan Mulally, the man credited for turning around the firm's fortunes during the financial crisis of the late 2000s.
As Ballmer looked to "remake my whole brand", he met with Mulally to find out how he had been able to achieve his turnaround. Nonetheless, after a change of management tactics, Ballmer called the firm's general counsel Brad Smith in May 2013, saying that it "might be the time for me to go".
He told WSJ: "At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern. Face it: I'm a pattern."
"Not a soul in this room doesn't think we need to go through this transition," he is quoted as saying at a recent executive meeting. "As much as I wish I could stay your CEO, I still own a big chunk of Microsoft and I'm going to keep it."
Ballmer said he has not made any firm plans for after he leaves Microsoft, weighing up offers of university teaching and coaching his son's basketball team. However, according to WSJ, he said he will not run another big company.
RTX 280 Ti will come with 11GB of fast GDDR6 video RAM with a 352-bit memory bus offering 616Gbps
The scale of jobs lost to automation will be at least as large as those in the first three industrial revolutions
Latest Tesla news: Tesla stock price tanks amid reports of 'widening probe' by SEC and claims the base Model 3 loses money
SEC 'probe' takes its toll on Tesla as new research suggests that Tesla loses $6,000 on every $35,000 Model 3
10nm Cannon Lake Core i3-8121U CPUs make a rare outing with Intel's NUC mini PC