Microsoft investors want Bill Gates to step down as chairperson

2 Oct 2013

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates

Three of Microsoft’s top 20 investors are pushing for the company’s co-founder Bill Gates to be ousted as chair amid concerns he wields too much influence, according to reports.

The three investors in question hold more than 5pc of the company’s stock, Reuters reports. Gates himself owns 4.5pc of the company and is its largest individual shareholder.

Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and has risen the ranks to become one of the most widely recognised – and respected – figureheads in tech. He stepped down as CEO in 2000, handing the role over to Steve Ballmer, who himself waved a tearful goodbye to the company last week.

Sources have now told Reuters that key shareholders are lobbying Microsoft’s board for Gates to step down. They are concerned that, in this role, Gates is inhibiting the adoption of new strategies and also that he will limit the ability of the next-appointed CEO to make changes.

Gates is a member of a special committee involved in selecting Microsoft’s next CEO. Chief contenders for the role include Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.