Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said he is pleased with how the company has been conducting its search for a new CEO but he refused to give any hint on when the process will wrap up.

At Tuesday’s annual shareholder meeting of the software company, Gates said he feels the search committee is “going through the process that will get the best person for the job.” He also outlined some of his criteria for the position.

It was unusual for Gates to speak at a shareholders meeting, according to a report from the online technology publication, But Gates also preempted question about the possible replacement for current CEO Steve Ballmer by talking about Microsoft’s search process in general terms. Gates is one of the four persons from Microsoft’s board who are in the CEO search committee.

In August this year, Ballmer suddenly announced his intention to retire in the next 12 months. His decision the bow comes at a time when Microsoft continues to struggle with getting its Windows 8 operating system and tablet devices gain greater acceptance in the market.

Gates said he believes Ballmer’s replacement should have “a lot of different skills, experience and capabilities.”

The new CEO will have to lead fundamental transitions to create new growth and attract and manage top talent, he said.

“The person has to have a lot of comfort in leading a highly technical organization, and have the ability to work with our top technical talent to seize the opportunities,” Gate said.

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