Microsoft’s share price is up nicely in the months since CEO Steve Ballmer announced he was leaving, but that’s not going to last unless the company can actually find a replacement. Someday. Eventually. WSJ describes the problem:
John W. Thompson, the director leading the CEO search, says the board is methodically seeking the right person for a complex role. But corporate directors, management consultants and some executives contacted about the job say the potential for boardroom clashes at Microsoft is a turnoff.
If Chairman Bill Gates and Mr. Ballmer stay on the board, Microsoft would be an outlier. Just eight companies in the S&P 500 index have two of their former CEOs as directors, according to Equilar Inc., which tracks executive compensation.
“No CEO worthy of the title wants his or her predecessors second-guessing everything in the boardroom,” said Jean-Louis Gassée, a former Apple Inc. AAPL -2.20% executive who has served on public-company boards.
Microsoft hasn’t said whether both Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates, the company’s co-founder and CEO for 19 years, will remain directors.
Seems like the problem isn’t so much finding a qualified candidate, but rather finding a candidate willing to work with Gates and Ballmer second-guessing their every move.
That’s an intolerable level of dysfunction for a company as large as Microsoft.
Gates and Ballmer have got to quit the board and let their baby grow up.