Microsoft investors reportedly pushing for Bill Gates to step down

Oct 1, 2013
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Microsoft investors reportedly pushing for Bill Gates to step down

Bill Gates could have an interesting future ahead of him at Microsoft, if claims made by sources who spoke to Reuters are true. Said "people familiar with the matter", three of the top twenty investors at Microsoft are lobbying the company's board to have Bill Gates step down from his position as Microsoft's chairman.

Though Microsoft has not given any comments on the matter, the sources say that "there is no indication" the company board will actually give the investors any attention on the matter. If the claims are true, this is believed to be the first time that investors of this caliber have targeted Mr. Gates with such demands, though certainly not the first time investors have been vocal about wishes.

No information was provided about these investors, except that combined they represent 5-percent of Microsoft's stock. Who each of the three are weren't specified at the request of the sources, with it only being said that they are three of the top twenty investors in the company. The reasons for their lobbying, however, were detailed.

Said the sources, part of the reason for wanting Gates to step down is Ballmer's impending leave, with the sources stating that having Gates remain on board when a new CEO takes the helm could put a damper on his actions, muting what could otherwise be big changes that could take the company where it needs to go. Beyond that, the investors also reportedly feel that having Gates around "effectively blocks" the implementation of various new efforts.

Rounding out the concerns is a worry among the three investors that Mr. Gates' ratio of power-to-shareholding in the company is skewed. Presently, the Microsoft's founder is the largest individual shareholder at the company, with approximately 4.5-percent of the business. The number drops every year, however, with about $80 million worth of shares being sold annually, giving him until 2018 when his stake in the company he founded will no longer exist.

SOURCE: Reuters


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