Ballmer named M'soft president

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Microsoft Corp. Chairman-CEO Bill Gates named Exec VP Steve Ballmer to the vacant post of president. Mr. Ballmer, 42, has been with the Redmond, Wash.-based company since 1980 and has been seen as Mr. Gates' closest aide. In an employee memo today, Mr. Gates said Mr. Ballmer will "focus on boosting the business discipline and performance of all our businesses" and on customer relationships, leaving Mr. Gates to spend the majority of his time working on products and technology strategies. Bob Herbold, exec VP-chief operating officer, now will report to Mr. Ballmer. Mr. Gates said Mr. Herbold will keep his current responsibilities, such as corporate marketing, and continue to act as "a senior emissary," referring to Mr. Herbold's high-profile status as Microsoft's spokesman on controversial issues such as the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust case. The higher profile for Messrs. Ballmer and Herbold suggests Mr. Gates is trying to reduce his often-controversial public profile.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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