Biographical information on Steve Ballmer
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will retire within the next year. Ballmer has worked at the company for the past 33 years, and has held the top job since 2000. Here are some biographic details on Ballmer:
Name: Steven Ballmer
Born: March 24, 1956. Ballmer grew up near Detroit. His father was a manager at Ford Motor Co.
Occupation: Chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., which is headquartered in Redmond, Washington.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Harvard University. He attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business but dropped out to start working at Microsoft.
Career: Before joining the company, Ballmer worked two years at consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager. He started working at Microsoft in 1980. Before becoming CEO, Ballmer’s roles at Microsoft included senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software and vice president of marketing. He was named CEO in 2000, taking over the job from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Quote: “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said in a press release announcing his retirement.
Friend and Foil of Bill Gates :
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s outgoing chief executive, was a close friend of company founder Bill Gates, but in many ways his opposite.
Ballmer, known for his competitive nature and outspoken, bombastic style, contrasted with the famously nerdy Gates.
The two were close friends at Harvard University, but Ballmer managed to graduate, while Gates became one of the venerable school’s most famous drop-outs.
Ballmer, the best man at Gates’s wedding in 1994, joined Microsoft in 1980 as operations manager, after a stint with consumer products group Procter & Gamble.
A native of Michigan, Ballmer grew up in the Detroit area, where his father was a Ford executive.
Ballmer, now 57, earned his Harvard degree in applied math and economics, and later attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
While Gates was the quiet, skinny computer nerd, Ballmer was a beefy, brash jock who liked playing basketball and once had to have surgery on his vocal cords after screaming out “Windows! Windows!” at a 1991 meeting in Japan.
Before becoming CEO in 2000, Ballmer was senior vice president of sales and support, senior vice president of systems software and vice president of marketing.
Independent tech analyst Jack Gold described Ballmer as a “masterful salesman” who “promoted Microsoft incessantly, and was hugely successful in his first decade.”
He drew criticism more recently, however, as Microsoft slipped behind longtime rival Apple and other tech giants.
“Lately (Ballmer) has lost touch with his marketplace and customer base. The infighting and turnover of execs has been dramatic. The seeming lack of vision he exhibited was destructive,” Gold said.
Ballmer nonetheless oversaw growth at Microsoft: revenues went from $23 billion in the fiscal year 2000 to more than $73 billion in the most recent year.
But the company’s market value slid from some $600 billion in 2000 to less than $300 billion today, and it has been overtaken by rivals Apple and Google.
In a memo to employees, Ballmer pointed out Microsoft’s progress since its early days.
“We have grown from employing just over 30 people to almost 100,000. I feel good about playing a role in that success and having committed 100 percent emotionally all the way.
“We have more than one billion users and earn a great profit for our shareholders.”
Despite more than 13 years at the helm, Ballmer has remained in the shadow of his former Harvard classmate Gates, who turned over the CEO job in 2000 and left the operations side in 2008 to focus on his philanthropic foundation.
While Ballmer has amassed a fortune of $15 billion, earning him the rank of 51st richest individual in the Forbes magazine ranking, that remains well behind Gates, who is number two worldwide and number one in the United States with $67 billion.