SEATTLE Microsoft Corp said on Thursday Steve Luczo stepped down from its board of directors so he can focus on his job as chief executive of digital storage company Seagate Technology Plc.
Luczo's exit comes just six weeks after the appointment of Satya Nadella as Microsoft chief executive, which Luczo played a key role in as a member of the software company's four-man search committee.
"With the CEO search completed and Satya off to a strong start, this felt like an appropriate time to make this change so I can turn my full attention to leading Seagate," said Luczo in a statement.
Luczo, 57, had been a member of Microsoft's board since May 2012. He was the board's youngest and newest member until the appointment of Mason Morfit last week, and was regarded by Wall Street as one of the more tech-savvy directors.
Microsoft has had trouble keeping younger board members recently. Netflix Inc Chief Executive Reed Hastings left Microsoft's board in 2012 after five years' service.
"This just speaks to evolution that is happening in Redmond," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, referring to Microsoft's headquarters near Seattle. "We could see more changes to the board over the coming years as new blood enters the board of directors and tries to move this company in the right direction."
The board now has 10 members, including former Chief Executive Officers Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft shares rose 2.7 percent on Thursday to hit their highest since mid-2000 on the Nasdaq, closing at $40.33, spurred by hopes that Nadella can revitalize the software giant as it transitions into the era of mobile computing.
(Corrects paragraph four to show Mason Morfit is Microsoft's youngest, newest member)
(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr and Mohammad Zargham)