Microsoft CEO Candidates Wary of Ballmer, Gates: Report
Microsoft's efforts to find Steve Ballmer's replacement are being weighed down by the company's outgoing and former leadership.As Microsoft's CEO search continues into the new year, the company's past is reportedly causing candidates to keep their distance. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, candidates are wary of the lingering presence of current CEO Steve Ballmer and legendary co-founder (and ex-CEO) Bill Gates on the company's board after a new chief executive is named. The Journal's Shira Ovide and Joann S. Lublin wrote that "corporate directors, management consultants and some executives contacted about the job say the potential for boardroom clashes at Microsoft is a turnoff." In meetings with Microsoft's board, some external executives "expressed concerns about being hamstrung if the two men continue to serve on the board, according to people familiar with their thinking," they said. Negotiations are said to involve spelling out just how much influence Ballmer and Gates will wield on the New CEO. "Outside CEO candidates 'know that part of what they are negotiating for is the level of engagement' of Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates once the new leader takes charge, a person familiar with the matter said," according to The Journal report.
Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who has served on public company boards, told the publication, "No CEO worthy of the title wants his or her predecessors second-guessing everything in the boardroom."