Microsoft Corporation Boosts Dividend, Changes Board Members

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It’s beginning to feel as though nothing is meant to remain the same under new CEO Satya Nadella. After replacing former CEO Steve Ballmer, he’s seen his predecessor not only his post but also leave the board in order to look after his billion dollar Los Angeles Clippers, he’s decided that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) software products should be made available for all devices (Office for iPad) and announced a round of job cuts that will see 18,000 employees leave the company. Most recently, the company announced that it would purchase the maker of Minecraft, Mojang AB, for $2.5 billion without taking on its founders.

On the way in, on the way out

On Tuesday, the company announced that two more members of the company’s board would be calling it quits and not seek re-election. The two are expected to step down following the annual shareholders meeting to be held in November. The two to leave the company are Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon.

Marquardt, 65, was a founding general partner of private venture-capital firm August Capital, and by definition makes him one of Microsoft’s earliest investors. When he steps down we will have served on the company’s board for over 33 years. Dublon, 61, former CFO of JPMorgan Chase, has been on the Microsoft board since 2005.

The two will be replaced by Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group, and Charles Scharf, CEO of Visa. The two will take their positions ahead of the shareholder meeting on October 1, 2014.

The 51 year-old List-Stoll was appointed CFO of Kraft in December of last year after spending almost 20 years at Procter & Gamble lastly as senior vice president and treasurer. She also serves on the board of Danaher Corp. and as a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation.

Scharf, 49, has been the CEO of Visa since late 2012. He took that position after nine years at JPMorgan Chase where he served as CEO of its retail-financial services and managing director of One Equity Partners.

“I’m excited to have both Teri and Charlie joining our board,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a news release on Tuesday. “Teri brings exceptional financial and operational expertise, as well as great insights from her two decades of experience in consumer and retail industries. Charlie, as a sitting CEO of a large global business, brings additional strategic and operational depth to the Microsoft board, as well as a deep understanding of how commerce is changing globally.”

“As one of our earliest board members, Dave has played an indispensable role in Microsoft’s growth and development, providing sage counsel and invaluable industry insights,” Bill Gates wrote in the same news release. “Dina has also been a great board member for almost a decade, and we all appreciate her guidance and support.”

Yes, that Bill Gates. Gates stepped down as chairman in February in order to have more time to concentrate on both his foundation and his work as technology adviser to Nadella. Gates was replaced by John Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments, as chairman.

Dividends and layoffs

In addition to the board changes, Microsoft announced that it would raise its quarterly dividend from $0.28 to $0.31, a 10.7% increase.

“As we continue to focus on the company’s transformation and the board continues to evaluate capital strategy options, this dividend increase is another step in our ongoing commitment to increase capital returns to shareholders,” Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said in the statement.

While it’s being largely reported that Microsoft will announce another 5,000 layoffs on Thursday, the company made it clear that it doesn’t comment on either rumors or speculation.

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