As Microsoft’s search for a new CEO drags on, you may be wondering why outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer decided to step down without having an obvious replacement lined up. One answer is that Microsoft during Ballmer’s reign has seen a major exodus of top executives that have either left the company or have been reportedly pushed out by Ballmer and his deputies.
Take a look at this two-and-a-half-year-old report from Redmond Magazine to get an idea of just how many top executives left the company since Ballmer started asserting more control over its operations after 2008. Over a span of just two years, Microsoft lost chief software architect Ray Ozzie, CFO Chris Liddell, Office boss Jeff Raikes, platform and services boss Kevin Johnson, entertainment and devices boss Robbie Bach and server and tools division boss Bob Muglia. When you couple this with former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky getting ousted last year, then you really understand how much executive talent the company has lost over the last five years.
Of course, not all of these departures were necessarily bad for Microsoft. But when there are this many of them over such a short span then it’s easy to understand why such a big company’s executive talent bench has gotten so thin.