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Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Ballmer steps down from Microsoft board

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is stepping down from the company’s board, closing a chapter on 34 years with the software giant.
Ballmer says he plans to devote more time to his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, civic contributions, study and teaching business at Stanford in the fall and USC next spring.
Microsoft Corporation published Ballmer’s resignation letter on its website yesterday along with a response from current CEO Satya Nadella thanking him and wishing him well.
The 58-year-old says he plans to hold on to his Microsoft stock and will continue to offer feedback on products and strategy. With 333.3 million shares worth US $15 billion, Ballmer’s four per cent stake in the company makes him the largest individual shareholder. A few institutional investors hold slightly more.
“I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years and I always will,” Ballmer wrote. “I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can.”
Ballmer stepped down as chief executive in February, and since then Microsoft shares have risen about 24 per cent. The stock closed yesterday up 0.5 per cent at $45.33. He noted his resignation from the board comes as the company prepares for its next shareholder meeting set for sometime this fall.
Nadella thanked Ballmer for his support during the transition period and used the opportunity to reiterate the company’s new focus on mobile devices and cloud computing.
“Under your leadership, we created an incredible foundation that we continue to build on – and Microsoft will thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Nadella said.
Ballmer’s departure leaves Microsoft’s board with ten members. It has no immediate plans to replace him.
The company, which is based in Redmond, Washington, adds a new board member about once every year or so. The most recent addition was John Stanton, chairman of wireless technology investment fund Trilogy Equity Partners, in July.