Microsoft chairman Bill Gates under pressure to step down as chairman


Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is under pressure to step down as chairman of the software company.

Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the $277 billion software major and is its largest individual shareholder, Reuters reported.

Microsoft, which will be buying Nokia phone business for $7.2 billion, is the fifth leading brand in the world. But it is behind Apple, Google, and IBM. Samsung is in the eight position as per Interbrand Brand Valuation of Top 10 Global Brands.

The presence of Microsoft founder, who has given up his day-to-day work in 2008 to focus on the $38 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is effectively blocking adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes, according to three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft.

These investors, who collectively hold more than 5 percent of the company’s stock, are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago, Reuters report said.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has been under pressure for years to improve the company’s performance and share price.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates under pressure to step down as chairman

The software major is currently looking for a new CEO.

These investors do not want Gates to play an important role as part of the special committee that is searching for Ballmer’s successor.

A representative for Microsoft declined to comment on Tuesday.

The report says there is no indication that Microsoft’s board would heed the wishes of the three investors.

Gates, who owned 49 percent of Microsoft before it went public in 1986, sells about 80 million Microsoft shares a year under a pre-set plan, which if continued would leave him with no financial stake in the company by 2018.

In August, Ballmer said he would retire within 12 months, amid pressure from activist fund manager ValueAct Capital Management.

Microsoft made a net profit of $22 billion last fiscal year.

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