Emerging Technology

Major Microsoft investors pushing for Bill Gates to go

Andrew Sadauskas /

Three of Microsoft’s top 20 investors are lobbying the board to convince founder Bill Gates to resign as chairman.

According to Reuters, Gates remains the company’s largest individual shareholder, although he now holds just 4.5% of the company’s stock, significantly down from the 49% he held before the company went public in 1986.

By comparison, the disgruntled investors represent around 5% of the company’s shareholder base.

Gates is currently selling around 80 million shares each year, in part to fund his philanthropic efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with Gates set to sell the last of his stock in the company in 2018.

Although Gates remains as chairman, he stood down as chief executive in 2000 and ended day-to-day duties at the company in 2008.

Gates is also currently overseeing the process of selecting a candidate to replace outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer, leaving some investors concerned the company founder could limit the strategic options available to its new management.

Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.