Bill Gates Discusses Search For New Microsoft CEO

Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates reportedly displayed rare emotion during a meeting in which he discussed the search for the new CEO to lead Redmond going forward.

Gates. speaking at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting, said he was pleased with the search for the new CEO and took the opportunity to highlight some of the difficulties in selecting the ideal candidate for the world’s largest software company.

Ballmer Replacement

“We’ve been doing a lot of meetings with both internal and external candidates and we’re pleased with the progress,” Gates was quoted by Reuters as saying. “We’re looking at a number of candidates and I’m not going to give a timeline today.

“It’s a complex role to fill – a lot of different skills, experience and capabilities that we need. It’s a complex global business the new CEO will have to lead. The person has to have a lot of comfort in leading a highly technical organisation and have an ability to work with our top technical talent to seize the opportunities.”

Gates then took the opportunity to talk about him and outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer as they have both been the only two men to lead the company since it was founded 38 years ago.

“Steve and I really appreciated all the joys and challenges that came with being CEO,” Gates reportedly said. “It’s a real privilege to lead the incredibly talented group of employees we have. It’s a privilege to work on the technology that’s changed the world.”

Gates Re-election

The Microsoft co-founder apparently became emotional and fought back the tears when he described how he and Ballmer shared a commitment to the company.

“We’ve got a commitment to make sure that the next CEO is the right person for the right time for the company we both love,” said Gates. “And we share a commitment that Microsoft will succeed as a company that makes the world a better place.”

Gates remains as chairman of the company, despite some opposition. All board nominees, including Ballmer and Gates, were re-elected, and each nominee was backed by more than 90 percent of the votes cast.

This came after three of out Microsoft’s top 20 investors reportedly lobbied Redmond’s board of directors last month to force  Gates to step down as chairman. The investors were said to be concerned that Gates still wields too much power at Microsoft, and could hinder the power of a new CEO to make substantial changes at the software giant.

Complex Role

A four man committee, which includes Bill Gates, is currently looking at a number of candidates, and Microsoft hopes to have Ballmer’s replacement signed up by the end of the year. The search for the new CEO has reportedly been whittled down to just a handful of candidates.

A TechWeekEurope poll of readers recently named tech fugitive John McAfee as their favourite to replace Ballmer, but a more realistic candidate is former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. Other favourites include the likes of Ford CEO Alan Mulally, as well as Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, and even VMware CEO Paul Maritz. Another favourite is also thought to be former Skype CEO Tony Bates, who is currently responsible for Microsoft’s business development.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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