Ballmer could quit Microsoft board once new CEO arrives, Gates taking front seat role

Microsoft’s outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer looks set to step down from the board of directors once a new CEO is appointed with chairman Bill Gates becoming a more visible member of the company once more.

Related: Microsoft CEO candidate could sell Xbox and shut Bing

People familiar with the matter told Recode that Ballmer won’t be involved in board decisions once his predecessor is announced and this comes despite him still owning enough stock to account for four per cent of the entire company.

Gates, who owns a similar stake in the firm, will reportedly “remain visible” depending on the new leader and become “more active” in the company – something that has been emerging ever since Ballmer announced his departure.

Microsoft is still trying to decide on a new CEO to take the company forward and many had expected the new person to be appointed by now with speculation continuing to surround a variety of both internal and external candidates.

Ballmer first announced in late August that he would be stepping down at some point in the coming 12 months after 10 years heading Microsoft and a special committee that is chaired by John Thompson and includes Gates was formed to try to find his successor.

The search has been a tricky one with the likes of Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Oracle co-president Mark Hurd stating no desire to take over from Ballmer and the most recent outsider mentioned was Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg.

Related: Who should be the next Microsoft CEO?

Alongside Vestberg, the shortlist is thought to include Microsoft insiders Satya Nadella and Tony Bates as well as Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and in December Thompson admitted that the list has been narrowed down from over 100 candidates with an appointment likely in the “early part of 2014.”