If you haven’t heard, Steve Ballmer just became the newest owner of the L.A. Clippers. He also has officially stepped down from Microsoft’s board of directors. This follows his departure as the software giants CEO eight months ago. It is the first time in over thirty years that Microsoft is going without Ballmer’s direct hands on supervision. He took over as CEO in 2000.
Still, Ballmer is currently Microsoft’s leading shareholder. Though he won’t have a direct say, his voice will still be heard. And after his recent $2 billion purchase of the most expensive NBA franchise in history, he’ll want the stocks to continue to perform well. The company’s revenue tripled under the direction of Ballmer. This despite being the fact Microsoft has struggled to keep up with Apple and Google in the tablet/mobile phone game.
In an interview with Bloomberg Ballmer explained,
“I want to be a great shareholder and I want to pay appropriate attention to my shares but between teaching classes and my new responsibilities at the Clippers and my civic duties, it’s a lot. I love Microsoft.”
Ballmer abdication is just the latest change to Microsoft executive positions however. Jon Stanton, the company’s wireless executive, was named to the board. In February Jon Thompson replaced Bill Gates as chairman. Mason Morfit of ValueAct Holdings LP was brought in this year as well. Microsoft is ready to be competitive again.
Meanwhile, Ballmer surpassed Gates as Microsoft’s leading shareholder this past may after Gates sold 4.6 million shares. Gates still has 333.3 million shares of the stock left, but it is now short of Ballmer’s stack by about 3.48 million. Since the company’s initial public offering in 1986, Ballmer has collected approximately $3.4 billion from selling shares of his stock. His net worth is valued at around $20.8 billion. And as of last week he is the sole owner of an NBA franchise.