Redmond, Wash., July 21, 1998 — In a move designed to broaden his management team to take advantage of future opportunities, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates today appointed Steven A. Ballmer president of Microsoft. Ballmer, who has played a variety of key roles at Microsoft since joining the company in 1980, was most recently executive vice president of sales and support.
Ballmer’s promotion is part of Gates’ plan to broaden Microsoft’s leadership and position the company to take advantage of new growth opportunities and to be more responsive to customer needs as they continue to change and evolve. By appointing Ballmer president, Gates will have more time to focus on Microsoft’s long-term vision and product strategy.
In a memo distributed to employees this morning, Gates said, “The majority of my time will be spent with our product groups, devising the technologies and products of the future.” He continued, “We can all be incredibly proud of what we’ve built so far. But the future opportunities will far surpass everything we’ve achieved to date. I’m more enthusiastic about and committed to Microsoft than I’ve ever been.”
Gates described Ballmer’s promotion as a formal recognition of the role he has long played at Microsoft, and said that his responsibilities will include “boosting the business discipline and performance of all our businesses.” Gates added that he and Ballmer will concentrate jointly on bringing “renewed focus and energy to Microsoft’s working environment, so that we are even more responsive to changing customer needs and new technologies.”
“I am extremely excited about my new role as president, and look forward to partnering with Bill and our management team in the leadership of the company I love,” Ballmer said. “It will be important to build on the work of Bob Herbold, our executive vice president and chief operating officer, who has done a great job of streamlining Microsoft’s day-to-day operations, a role he will continue to play. My aim is to delight customers, and to make our existing and future products an even greater success in the marketplace. In this I will be helped by Jeff Raikes, formerly group vice president of sales and marketing, who will now take on an even more central management role as group vice president of sales and support.”
Ballmer’s new responsibilities will mean adding several new direct reports, including Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Frank M. (Pete) Higgins, group vice president of interactive media; Paul A. Maritz, group vice president of platforms and applications; and William H. Neukom, senior vice president, law and corporate affairs. Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s chief technology officer, will continue to report to Gates.