Three of Microsoft’s top 20 investors are calling for Bill Gates to step down from his current role as board chairman, reported Reuters.
Although Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has been constantly under pressure to improve the share price and performance of the company, this is the first time that key shareholders have singled out the company’s founder.
However, the company’s board is unlikely to grant the request of the investors, who collectively own over five per cent of Microsoft’s stock, revealed the sources. The sources requested the identity of the three investors to remain anonymous, as the discussions are private.
Owning around 4.5 per cent of the company, Bill Gates is Microsoft’s biggest individual shareholder and one of the most influential and respected personalities in technology.
With Gates on the board, the three investors believe that the adoption of new strategies will be blocked while the power of the upcoming chief executive to make significant changes within the company will be limited.
They are also concerned that the power being exercised by Gates is no longer in proportion to his thinning shares.
Gates owned 49 per cent of the company prior to going public in 1986. Under a pre-set plan, he sells around 80 million shares of Microsoft each year. If this practice continues, Gates will no longer have any financial stake in Microsoft in 2018.
Moreover, one of the investors reckons that Gates is more effective as chief executive rather than as a chairman, added the source.