Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has never been a ‘run of the mill’ leader. When he took over the reins at Microsoft, many people thought he wouldn’t make an ideal figurehead. Debates across the industry always center on the fact that there are people more skilled within the company to take his position.
Steve himself has said that he doesn’t plan on giving up control of Microsoft until his youngest kid leaves for college in 2017. The only way he will go, is if he is fired and for that to happen, it has to come from Bill Gates. Insiders say that Gates will never fire Ballmer because they are old friends.
Microsoft as a company, have a very small board of members. There are only 7 in total, and only one of these is a strong business leader in the tech industry – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. The likelihood of them standing up to Ballmer without Gates involved is minimal.
How else could he be removed? It is possible the investors could find a replacement but without a high profile figurehead it is unlikely. There was even talk that Zuckerberg might be involved within Microsoft on some level, given his proven media persona and success in the industry, but it is unlikely he would work for Gates, even on a consultancy level. With the track record of executives like John Sculley, who took over from Steve Jobs in Apple, it is always a high risk as the business model can suffer long term.
Steve Ballmer (above) in full flow. We can only assume he checked his bank balance before going on stage.
Investors could, in theory mount an alternative board of directors who could replace Ballmer before 2017 although that again is unlikely as Bill Gates is the largest shareholder with 6.65% of the company and Ballmer himself has 3.95%. Several large institutional investors hold about 3% each.
KitGuru says: So, until Gates decides that Ballmer isn’t suited to the job, his goal of remaining as CEO of Microsoft until 2017 is a strong possibility.