Steve Ballmer Considering Leaving Microsoft Board

Steve BallmerImage source: Bloomberg Video Screenshot

After stepping down as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s CEO, Steve Ballmer is now considering leaving the Microsoft board.

Ballmer’s presence on the board, re-elected last year, along with that of Microsoft founder and current largest shareholder Bill Gates, has been a concern as new CEO Satya Nadella looks to establish an independent direction for the firm.

In an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ballmer, 58, was reflective on his life and his future choices.  Saying it felt “different” to be on the board and not the center of activity that was the case when he was CEO, Ballmer noted he was quieter than usual.

Trying to figure out life choices

Three weeks ago in an event in England, Ballmer began his public soul-searching.  “I get to find some new set of things to be passionate about,” he was quoted as saying. “I get to find some new set of things to be passionate about. I get the luxury of really trying to figure out what might be fun to make a difference in the world. And I don’t want to default to something that’s obvious, so I’m gonna take some time and really figure it out, and say ‘What will be the thing that will switch me on from age 58 to age 70?'”

Gates replaced on board

Last month Gates left the chairmanship of the board, replaced by former IBM and Symantec executive John Thompson. Gates and Ballmer are still the largest shareholders of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), each owning 4% of the stock valued at over $13 billion each. Gates has continued to sell his shares and if this continues and Ballmer holds his shares, Balmer will find himself the largest shareholder in 2014.

If he were to leave the board, this doesn’t mean Ballmer would forget about the 33 years he spent building Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) into a worldwide leader in technology. “I own 4% of Microsoft,” he was quoted as saying. “I care a lot about my child and my investment.”

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About the Author

Mark Melin
Mark Melin is an alternative investment practitioner whose specialty is recognizing a trading program’s strategy and mapping it to a market environment and performance driver. He provides analysis of managed futures investment performance and commentary regarding related managed futures market environment. A portfolio and industry consultant, he was an adjunct instructor in managed futures at Northwestern University / Chicago and has written or edited three books, including High Performance Managed Futures (Wiley 2010) and The Chicago Board of Trade’s Handbook of Futures and Options (McGraw-Hill 2008). Mark was director of the managed futures division at Alaron Trading until they were acquired by Peregrine Financial Group in 2009, where he was a registered associated person (National Futures Association NFA ID#: 0348336). Mark has also worked as a Commodity Trading Advisor himself, trading a short volatility options portfolio across the yield curve, and was an independent consultant to various broker dealers and futures exchanges, including OneChicago, the single stock futures exchange, and the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also Editor, Opalesque Futures Intelligence and Editor, Opalesque Futures Strategies. - Contact: Mmelin(at)valuewalk.com

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