Ballmer Tells Nadella, I Bleed Microsoft, As He Leaves Company Board

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stepped down from the company’s board of directors on Tuesday, telling now-CEO Satya Nadella that he’s ready to focus on new ventures.

“In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy,” Ballmer wrote. “I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time. …I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off. The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately.”

But that doesn’t mean board members can’t pick Ballmer’s brain.

“I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will,” Ballmer said. “I continue to love discussing the company’s future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing.”

Ballmer’s email to Nadella also contained paragraphs of praise for Microsoft and its future as the software giant shifts to a cloud and mobility strategy. In a short response, Nadella said working with Ballmer was a privilege.

“While your insights and leadership will be greatly missed as part of the board, I understand and support your decision,” he said.

Meantime, Ballmer remains Microsoft’s largest shareholder, outside of index funds, and he said he expects to “continue holding that position for the foreseeable future.”

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