Microsoft Corporation has announced that Bill Gates will leave his day-to-day role in the company. The departure, occurring in a two-year phase out, will result in a step up for Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie, who will become chief software architect. Microsoft reported that Ozzie will work very closely with Gates to ensure that the company faces a smooth transfer of power by July, 2008 when Gates fully transitions out of his current role.
Gates will remain chairman of Microsoft Corp., and stay on as an adviser, but he plans to work more intimately with his charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Our business and technical leadership has never been stronger,” Gates said in a press release, “and Microsoft is well-prepared for success in the years ahead.”
Ozzie and Craig Mundie, who will take over as chief research and strategy officer, will report directly to CEO Steve Ballmer.
Gates started Microsoft, the worldwide leader in software and operating systems, in 1975. The company employs 63,000 employees in over 100 countries and reports annual sales of over $40 billion. In 2000, amidst crisis and multiple anti-trust lawsuits, gates and his wife founded the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The foundation now has assets of nearly $30 billion.
Microsoft’s stock is down slightly in after-hours trading.