Microsoft is expected to name Satya Nadella as its new CEO in the coming days, but attention is shifting towards Bill Gates’ role at the software company. Bloomberg News reported on Friday that the Microsoft board is considering replacing founder Bill Gates as the company’s chairman. Gates took a less active role at Microsoft in 2008, eight years after Steve Ballmer succeeded him as CEO. While board member John Thompson is rumored as a possible chairman replacement, two new reports suggest Gates may be weighing up a more active role at Microsoft.
Satya Nadella reportedly wants Gates as a wingman
The Wall Street Journal reports that Nadella requested a bigger role for Gates in an advisor capacity, noting it’s “what I need to be successful.” Bill Gates has consistently stressed he would never return to Microsoft full-time, instead focusing his efforts on his philanthropy with the work of his foundation. However, Bloomberg News reports that Gates may take a role that’s more involved in product development than administration. Gates’ possible role could mean the Microsoft chairman would work one day a week at the software giant.
Gates is said to be a strong advocate of Satya Nadella to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, and the pair could end up collaborating to push Microsoft’s idea of devices and services. Gates is still well respected inside Microsoft, and is seen as Microsoft’s true visionary. He originally pushed the idea of tablet PCs and smartphones before Apple revolutionized both markets, but he also reportedly helped end Microsoft’s brave Courier tablet project due to a lack of an email client. It’s not clear what type of products Gates would work on alongside Nadella, but rumors suggest Nadella is in contract talks so the fate of Gates’ chairman role should become more clear in the coming days or weeks.