Steve Ballmer won’t be splitting his time between Microsoft’s board of directors and his duties as the new owner of the NBA team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
In an Aug. 19 letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer announced that he was stepping down from the company’s board. Citing his confidence in Microsoft’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” corporate strategy and his new commitments, “I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off.”
As autumn approaches, Ballmer anticipates that time will be a scarce resource. “The fall will be hectic, between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season, so my departure from the board is effective immediately.”
Ballmer made a $2 billion bid for the Clippers following a racially charged scandal involving former owner Donald Sterling and a subsequent decision by the NBA to strip him of the team’s ownership. On Aug. 12, Ballmer took ownership of the Clippers.
“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” said Ballmer in an Aug. 12 statement. “I will be hard-core in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. And we will do whatever is necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA.”
Owning the Clippers is just one of the many demands on Ballmer’s time after handing over the reins of the company to Nadella on Feb. 4 following the announcement of his retirement on Aug. 23, 2013. “I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with the most talented employees and senior leadership team in the industry, and I know their passion and hunger for greatness will only grow stronger under Satya’s leadership,” stated Ballmer at the time.
“In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy. I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time,” read the letter.
Despite his departure, Ballmer’s influence still looms. “I hold more Microsoft shares than anyone other than index funds,” he said. “I expect to continue holding that position for the foreseeable future.” Ballmer pledged to “keep ideas and inputs flowing” as well as “support and encourage boldness by management” in any way that he can as a shareholder.
Thanking Ballmer for his help during this year’s CEO transition and for his 34 years at Microsoft, Nadella said in his response that the former chief executive’s “insights and leadership will be greatly missed as part of the board.
“As you embark on your new journey, I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft, and we wish you incredible success,” added Nadella. “I also look forward to partnering with you as a shareholder.”