Bill Gates steps down as Chairman, now a technical advisor to Microsoft

With the announcement today that Satya Nadella will become the third CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates will also be taking on a new role. Previously, Gates was the Chairman of the Board but with today’s announcement, he will now be a technical advisor and will devote more time to the company; John Thompson will take over as Chairman of the Board and will remain an independent director of the board.

This is clearly a large move for both Gates and Microsoft. With Gates no longer sitting at the top of the board, many feel that this will give Nadella more room to build his own identity for Microsoft and not have to live under the shadow of Gates. Of course, Gates is now taking a more active role, while we don’t know exactly how active he will be, this will likely appease those who wished that Gates would return to the company full time.

Microsoft stated the following in a press release:

Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director for the Board of Directors, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors and remain an independent director on the Board. 

This is a big day for Microsoft. With only its third CEO in the company’s history being announced and the key founder of the company stepping down as Chairman, a lot of change is going on in Redmond.

Of course, this also means the end of the Ballmer era but Steve will not actually be disappearing from Microsoft campus as he will retain a position on the Board.

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23 Comments

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This honestly seems to make a lot of sense. They need fresh ideas and new people badly. The reshuffling makes sense too. Gates was always the technical one of the higher ups, and Ballmer the business man. From the perspective of a Linux user, if Linux was a company, I don't think I'd have done it better myself.

He wanted to spend more time on charity, yet now says he is thrilled to spend more time at Microsoft? Yeah, right... This is "the soft way out". In one year, he'll be leaving MS for good, while receiving statements from Nadella such as "Bill has provided invaluable advise on future products...".

'Clean slate' won't work for Microsoft... it's too big and plus Satya has proven he's more than capable for this role. He took his group far beyond any other group at Microsoft... so he'll do amazing things with Microsoft as a whole

I don't understand the need for Bill Gates, here. Microsoft doesn't have a technical problem, rather, they have a visionary and execution problem. Under Bill, Windows did dominate the OS field, but that's because Microsoft and Apple were the only ones in it and Steve Jobs was never a good businessman to begin with. Under Bill, he never was able to make MSN a product worth going against AOL. Remember MSN, wasn't the same as msn.com. Like, you actually needed a disc to use MSN. Let's also not forget Windows ME. Enough said on that.

It's not about a 'problem', but rather with Bill's extensive experience (and he is the founder afterall)... it makes sense to keep him (even now in this lesser but more useful role) to help fulfill Microsoft's overall vision.

Funny title!
Technical Advisor = Custodial Janitor (What difference does it make)
William didn't want it to look like their sending him out to the pasture just yet.

Hey Satya, your first mission as CEO is to track J Allard down and give him 2 blank checks.

One check is budget for whatever he needs to create magic again...

And the other is for his salary.

Do this and you win automatically...

Showan said,
Hey Satya, your first mission as CEO is to track J Allard down and give him 2 blank checks.

One check is budget for whatever he needs to create magic again...

And the other is for his salary.

Do this and you win automatically...

Or not.

VictorWho said,
Wasn't Bill a Chairman and a CEO at one time? Why can't he be both Chairman AND advisor.

My guess is because he doesn't want this to be a full time job (he wants to focus on his charity), and managing the board takes a good deal of time. He likely won't be working 'more' for Microsoft, just more involved as he will be using his time differently.

so bill gates is back, part time.


"I'm thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up, substantially increasing my time at the company," says Gates in a video commenting on Nadella. "I'll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups and it'll be fun to define this next round of products working together."

Brony said,
Advisor = symbolic role.

However, +1 to Bill Gates that decided to step down.


So it's symbolic yet on several occasions it's been said Bill Gates will be spending considerably more time involved at Microsoft and now this happens. Yeah, totally.

Brony said,
Advisor = symbolic role.

However, +1 to Bill Gates that decided to step down.


You'll be ****ed to learn that he's more involved now...

siah1214 said,

You'll be ****ed to learn that he's more involved now...

Chairman = Big Boss (sometimes, over the CEO).
Advisor = Sidekick.

For example, let's say that Bill Gates loves Windows 8 however, the board members think differently. Who decides?. The CEO. But, the CEO could be removed only with the votes of the board members (where Bill Gates is not part of it anymore). So, it is highly inadvisable to any CEO to go against the will of the board.

Brony said,

Chairman = Big Boss (sometimes, over the CEO).
Advisor = Sidekick.

For example, let's say that Bill Gates loves Windows 8 however, the board members think differently. Who decides?. The CEO. But, the CEO could be removed only with the votes of the board members (where Bill Gates is not part of it anymore). So, it is highly inadvisable to any CEO to go against the will of the board.


...he's still on the board...

Brony said,

Chairman = Big Boss (sometimes, over the CEO).
Advisor = Sidekick.

For example, let's say that Bill Gates loves Windows 8 however, the board members think differently. Who decides?. The CEO. But, the CEO could be removed only with the votes of the board members (where Bill Gates is not part of it anymore). So, it is highly inadvisable to any CEO to go against the will of the board.


I can see you can smash your face into a keyboard to create legible sentence, which is impressive to say the least, but can you actually read? Bill Gates is still on the board.

Most of you guys presume that what gets the job done or how the job is get done is all related to the titles or the official responsibilities of a person. However, more often then not, management of a company or even a country is about influential people within. And obviously, Bill Gates is moving to a job where he will have more influence on the technology that Microsoft will produce.

And for the new CEO. There are so many things he can do. If he goes too far and makes Bill Gates too upset, Bill Gates can take over the CEO role any day, again through his influence within the company and the board.