Gates, Ballmer seek re-election to Microsoft board

SEATTLE Thu Oct 3, 2013 6:16pm EDT

SEATTLE Oct 3 (Reuters) - Chairman Bill Gates and retiring Chief Executive Steve Ballmer are standing for re-election to Microsoft Corp's board of directors, according to the company's annual proxy filing made public on Thursday.

Ballmer and Gates, both 57, have been the target of activist investors over the past few months who believe the software maker needs new leadership to compete with mobile-savvy rivals such as Apple Inc and Google Inc. But it is highly likely they will retain their board seats.

Ballmer announced his plan to retire within 12 months in August, but there is no sign that Gates will relinquish his role or leave the board of the company he co-founded with Paul Allen 38 years ago.

Microsoft has not yet named a successor to Ballmer and is in the midst of a search process it said could take until next August.

Ballmer is set to stay on as CEO until a successor is appointed, but Microsoft has not said whether Ballmer will remain a board director after that. Whether on the board or not, Ballmer made it clear last month in a meeting with Wall Street analysts that he plans to remain engaged as a major investor.

According to the proxy filing, Gates remains the company's largest individual shareholder, with a 4.5 percent stake, followed by Ballmer with 4 percent.

The filing made no mention of Mason Morfit, president of activist shareholder ValueAct Capital Management, who was offered a board seat by Microsoft in August.

Morfit is expected to take up that offer and will likely be appointed to the board after Microsoft's annual shareholder meeting on Nov. 19, people familiar with the matter said.

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