Three of Microsoft's highest-profile investors have reportedly called for Bill Gates to step down from the company's board, but the software giant's co-founder and chairman is not planning on going quietly.
That's according to Microsoft's annual proxy filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which shows that Gates, along with the company's current CEO Steve Ballmer, are standing for re-election to its board of directors on November 19.
The move is likely to further sour relations with investors who told Reuters that Gates, who has served as chairman of Microsoft's board since 1981, is too influential within the company and could limit a new CEO from adopting new strategies and making substantial changes.
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Ballmer, who joined Microsoft's board of directors over a decade ago when he was given the job of CEO, recently announced that he would be giving up the top job in August 2014 before making a teary and emotional farewell speech.
The SEC filing reveals that his bonus was shrunk 11% to $620,000 (around, £386,000, or AU$1 million) for Microsoft's fiscal 2013 in light of an 18% decline in Windows Division operating income that was dragged down by a $900 million inventory writedown on Surface tablets.
Microsoft is yet to name his successor. If Gates and Ballmer (who is the company's second-largest individual shareholder with a 4% stake, behind Gates' 4.5%) are re-elected, the pair would wield substantial influence over who would replace one of the industry's most big, brash and bullish figures in recent times.
- Here are six candidates that could replace Microsoft's larger-than-life CEO