Are Gates and Ballmer scaring off potential CEO candidates at Microsoft?

By on January 4, 2014, 3:00 PM
microsoft, ceo, bill gates, redmond, steve ballmer

Despite the fact that Microsoft said they might not select a new CEO until this summer, several board members hoped Steve Ballmer’s successor would have been named by December at the latest. We’re still waiting for Redmond to name their next leader but one has to wonder, why is the search taking so long?

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, current board members may be scaring off potential candidates. And it makes sense when you stop and think about it. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were re-elected to the board for a one-year term back in November with the option to resign sooner if they wished.

If both men remain on the board for the long haul, the new CEO likely wouldn’t want their predecessors second-guessing their decisions in the boardroom. Some people close to Ballmer also questioned how he might handle a new CEO that decides to take the company in a different direction or break free from strategy he initiated.

What’s more, Microsoft would become a rarity in that case as only eight of the companies on the S&P 500 have two former CEOs on their board of directors.

The report says some external executives that have discussed the CEO job with Microsoft have expressed concerns about being limited in their decision-making abilities if both men remain on the board. At the same time, however, it can be advantageous to have those guys around as a sounding board or as elder statesmen.




User Comments: 11

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1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

If balmer was making the face at me that he was on the techspot homepage, id be scared off too.

1 person liked this | Dimitriid Dimitriid said:

If balmer was making the face at me that he was on the techspot homepage, id be scared off too.

Be nice, he's just exited about developers!

youtube.com/watch?v=8To-6VIJZRE

Bubbajim Bubbajim said:

Seems the writers at the Wall Street Journal have been watching the latest South Parks!

Prosercunus said:

If balmer was making the face at me that he was on the techspot homepage, id be scared off too.

Classic media. Propose the statement as a question to avoid responsibility and with a corresponding picture that leads the reader for good measure.

Guest said:

As Bill Gates had said "Microsoft is always two years away from failure". So I think they are in the schedule. :)

SirGCal SirGCal said:

I'd have to agree... I think having them around could be very limiting to a new would-be CEO. Say someone comes in and really wants to fix things. Address the concerns with Xbox and get the love for Windows 9 back to where it was for 7 for both admins and users alike. I have a feeling Balmer would be 'all over that'. Bill might actually giggle a bit and enjoy the new vision but I don't see Balmer that way AT ALL. Maybe that's just me.

Guest said:

If the HP board had been more limiting, maybe HP would have had less problems.

Guest said:

"According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, current board members may be scaring off potential candidates. And it makes sense when you stop and think about it."

Only makes sense if you aren't at that level. Any CEO picked to run a company that big (and that is a VERY small talent pool) is not going to flinch about having to spar with former CEO's. If they do, they don't belong in the first place. Big deal even if you do get fired as you are already a multi-millionaire and probably will have job offers lining up. Geez, talk about a sensationalist article.

Teko03 said:

"According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, current board members may be scaring off potential candidates. And it makes sense when you stop and think about it."

Only makes sense if you aren't at that level. Any CEO picked to run a company that big (and that is a VERY small talent pool) is not going to flinch about having to spar with former CEO's. If they do, they don't belong in the first place. Big deal even if you do get fired as you are already a multi-millionaire and probably will have job offers lining up. Geez, talk about a sensationalist article.

Kind of my exact thoughts. I don't think any one qualified or at such a career level is intimidated by ANYONE.

jester376 said:

Well, you really cant blame Gates if he wants a good CEO and gives the candidates a hard time. If you spent half your life building a multi-billion dollar company, you'd want a good CEO too. Just because you've been a CEO or have lots of achievements doesnt make you a good candidate, there are alot of bad CEOs. Besides, I'm sure by the time Gates wants to see the company he built last a very long time afters hes dead in the grave.

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