Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has resigned as a member of the company’s board, ending more than three decades of involvement in the world’s biggest software maker.
Ballmer, 58, is still Microsoft’s top individual shareholder. He had initially remained as a director after handing the top job over to one of his deputies, Satya Nadella, in February.
In a letter to Nadella posted on Microsoft’s website, Ballmer announced that he is shifting his focus to run the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball team he just bought for $2bn.
In the letter, Ballmer said he had become very busy since he quit the top job and that it would be impractical to continue.
“I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of my time,” he wrote.
He said his departure would be immediate due to a hectic autumn including both the start of the NBA basketball season and his teaching of a new class.
Ballmer’s departure from the board, following Bill Gates’ decision in February to step down as the company’s chairman, leaves the two people most responsible for building Microsoft with diminished roles in the company’s future.
Ballmer joined Microsoft as employee number 30 in 1980 after Gates persuaded him to drop out of Stanford University’s business school. He rose to the rank of president and then took over from Gates as CEO in 2000.
“I bleed Microsoft – have for 34 years and I always will,” Ballmer wrote in the letter.