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Gates holds back a tear when discussing search for new Microsoft CEO

Bill Gates became emotional when talking to Microsoft shareholders about the company’s hunt for its third CEO.


“We’ve got a commitment to see that the next CEO is the right person, for the right time, for the company we both love,” a tearful Bill Gates said to investors at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday.

Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, didn’t have any updates on the search for a new CEO of Microsoft, but said the company’s board had met with “a lot of CEO candidates” and is considering both internal and external candidates. Although no names were named, Gates said that the board was looking for someone that had experience leading a technology organization.

 “It’s a complex role to fill,” Gates said.

On stage Gates thanked Steve Ballmer for his work and leadership during his tenure as CEO.

“I want to say thanks for the leadership over the last 13 years,” said Gates. “It’s a real privilege to lead the incredibly talented group of employees we have.”

Microsoft has had only two CEOs in its entire history history which makes it unique, said Gates. As the hunt continues for its third, Microsoft’s second CEO, who had the task of filling Gates’ perhaps unfillable shoes when he entered the position at the height of Microsoft’s anti-trust trial in 2000, like Gates got emotional discussing the future of the company during an interview with the Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

“At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern. Face it: I’m a pattern,” a teary Ballmer said during the interview. “Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on. As much as I love everything about what I’m doing the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.”

During the meeting Nokia announced that its shareholders approved Microsoft’s bid for parts of the company, thereby freeing up presumed frontrunner for CEO Stephen Elop for the position.


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