Three Microsoft Investors Are Reportedly Calling for Bill Gates to Step Down as Chairman

Three Microsoft Investors Are Reportedly Calling for Bill Gates to Step Down as ChairmanImage via NSR Australia

Things are looking to get shaken up at Microsoft thanks to Steve Ballmer's impending departure as CEO—but if three investors get their way, Bill Gates could be leaving, too.

Reports are coming in that three investors, who collectively own about 5-percent of Microsoft, are pressuring 17 other top investors to ask Gates to step down as Microsoft chairman from the company he helped found almost 40 years ago. There doesn't seem to be any signs that the other investors will agree with the group of three, but the concern here revolves around their fear that when a new CEO is picked and takes the helm, Gates' presence will stop them from being able to make radical changes in strategy and innovation. Gates has been spending a lot of his focus on his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the investors say that he may have too much power in a company that is not his primary concern. Before Microsoft went public in 1986, Gates owned about 49-percent of the company, but since he's taken on a lesser role after Ballmer went up as CEO in 2000, he's been selling about 80 million shares a year, which would leave him with no financial ownership at Microsoft in just 2018. Today, he owns 4.5-percent of the company, and is Microsoft's largest individual shareholder.

It seems some people aren't willing to wait until 2018. 

[via Business Insider]

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Tags: microsoft, bill-gates, investors, steve-ballmer
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