Bill Gates Is Staying as Microsoft's 'Tech Advisor'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Microsoft's (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates will remain on the company's board of directors as a technology advisor, in a move that will give the billionaire a more hands on role at the company as Satya Nadella takes the reins of the company from outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft said on Tuesday Gates will step down as chairman of Microsoft's board of directors and will assume a new role as founder and technology advisor. The new role will allow Gates to "devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.," Microsoft said in a press release. As part of the board change, John Thompson, lead independent director of Microsoft's board will assume the chairman role.

The board reshuffle comes as Microsoft changes CEO's for the first time in well over a decade.

Now that Ballmer is stepping down from the CEO role, Gates appears poised to take a more active role in the company's operations, possibly helping to steer Nadella in his early years. Microsoft said Gates will advise Nadella on the direction of the company's products and its technology, but said little more in a press release.

It is widely assumed Nadella, an executive who has been instrumental in building Microsoft's cloud software capabilities, may focus his efforts on steering the company's software offering beyond the PC, where it has a dominant market share. In his later years at Microsoft, outgoing CEO Ballmer struggled to develop successful mass market tablet and smartphone offerings that could usher the company into an era of mobile technology.

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