Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, Makes Almost $1 Billion By Saying, ‘I Quit’

When CEO Steve Ballmer said he was quitting Microsoft yesterday, he made more than three-quarters of a billion dollars. Bill Gates, the company’s largest shareholder, made close to a billion dollars himself.


As all the world knows, Steve Ballmer resigned as Microsoft’s CEO on Friday. He announced that he’ll be leaving as soon as his successor is picked, which will be sometime within the next 12 months.

But he seemed to think he’d done a pretty good job. In the open resignation letter sent to Microsoft employees, Steve Ballmer made a point of mentioning that he’d been with the company since it was a small $7.5 million business with 30 employees.

Now it’s a $78 billion giant traded on NASDAQ employing 100,000.

Yet somehow the market could contain its sorrow at the news that Ballmer was leaving Microsoft. In fact, MSFT stock soared seven percent on the announcement.

It might be hard on the MSFT CEO’s ego. But he’ll be crying all the way to the bank.

According to a report in Forbes, Steve Ballmer currently holds 333 million shares. Therefore, the insta-bump in Microsoft stock value that greeted Balmer’s quitting ended up increasing the soon-to-be ex-CEO’s net worth by an estimated $789 million.

Wowsers. Bill Gates, with even more shares, enjoyed a so-called Ballmer bump of about $943 million.

Naturally, anyone who held Microsoft benefited from the increase in the stock price. Tech Crunch reported that the Ballmer bump added about $18 billion to the company’s market capitalization.

Here’s the stock chart for MSFT. As you can see, it’s been struggling lately, leading to investor outcry. But the downward trend was quickly reversed on Friday at the news that Microsoft would soon be enjoying new leadership.

MSFT Chart

TechCrunch called Steve Ballmer’s exit strategy classy. No doubt. But for $789 million, it’s probably easy for the Microsoft CEO to hold back any rage.

[MSFT data by YCharts]

[Steve Ballmer photo by imagemaker /]

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