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Posted by Ted Schadler on February 5, 2014
[Updated February 7, 2014]
Satya Nadella is Microsoft's new CEO. Check. He's the right person for the job, insider, change agent, provocateur. To see his 10-point todo list, see this Forrester report.
Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft's board to "substantially increase time" spent at Microsoft. Check. What, huh? How can both things be true? How can Bill Gates leave the board, but remain involved in the company?
Here's what I think will happen: Bill Gates will play a critical though invisible role in Microsoft's future.
By leaving the board of directors, he won't be making strategic decisions as chairman. He won't be driving the strategic decisions as chairman of the board, but he will be a vital force behind the scenes. Here are three jobs that Mr. Gates must get right:
If Bill Gates doesn't play this run silent, run deep role, then all bets are off. If he and Mr. Ballmer are visible, even if their intentions are well meaning, the new CEO would be undermined, second-guessed, and passively blocked from accomplishing the critical business model pivot that lies ahead.
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