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本文摘要:To appreciate why Microsoft Corp. is having trouble choosing a new chief executive, consider these awkward boardroom dynamics: a founder who believes he knows best, a CEO who stepped down under pressure for a faster change in strategy, and, soon, an activist investor pushing for big changes.要解读为什么微软公司(Microsoft Co. ,MSFT)在自由选择新的首席执行长时遇到困难,要考虑到该公司董事会里面对的失望处境:这里有一位指出他最理解微软公司的创始人、一位迫使执着减缓变革策略而离任的首席执行长,并且迅速还不会有一位拒绝大幅度变革的维权投资者。

To appreciate why Microsoft Corp. is having trouble choosing a new chief executive, consider these awkward boardroom dynamics: a founder who believes he knows best, a CEO who stepped down under pressure for a faster change in strategy, and, soon, an activist investor pushing for big changes.要解读为什么微软公司(Microsoft Co. ,MSFT)在自由选择新的首席执行长时遇到困难,要考虑到该公司董事会里面对的失望处境:这里有一位指出他最理解微软公司的创始人、一位迫使执着减缓变革策略而离任的首席执行长,并且迅速还不会有一位拒绝大幅度变革的维权投资者。Its been more than four months since Steve Ballmer announced his plans to retire. And while Microsoft has said it will pick a successor by summer 2014, board members had hoped to choose one by November or December, according to people familiar with their thinking.鲍尔默(Steve Ballmer)宣告请辞计划早已有四个多月时间了。据知情人士称之为,微软公司回应到2014年夏天将不会指定一位继任者,不过该公司董事会曾期望到去年11月份或12月份投票决定一位新的首席执行长。

John W. Thompson, the director leading the CEO search, says the board is methodically seeking the right person for a complex role. But corporate directors, management consultants and some executives contacted about the job say the potential for boardroom clashes at Microsoft is a turnoff.主持人新任首席执行长甄选的董事汤普森(John W. Thompson)回应,董事会正在有条不紊地为一个非常复杂的职位找寻适合人选。但该职位甄选所认识的企业董事、管理顾问以及一些低管称之为,微软公司董事会的潜在对立令人望而却步。If Chairman Bill Gates and Mr. Ballmer stay on the board, Microsoft would be an outlier. Just eight companies in the SP 500 index have two of their former CEOs as directors, according to Equilar Inc., which tracks executive compensation.如果董事长比尔盖茨(Bill Gates)和鲍尔默皆回到董事会,微软公司将不会沦为一个异类。


据跟踪企业高管薪酬的Equilar Inc.称之为,在标普500指数成分股中,仅有八家公司经常出现前首席执行长之后兼任公司董事的情况。No CEO worthy of the title wants his or her predecessors second-guessing everything in the boardroom, said Jean-Louis Gass谷e, a former Apple Inc. executive who has served on public-company boards.苹果(Apple Inc.)前高管、在上市公司董事会供职的Jean-Louis Gassee说道,一个能干的首席执行长会期望他或她的前任在董事会会议室里对所有的事情说三道四。


Microsoft hasnt said whether both Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates, the companys co-founder and CEO for 19 years, will remain directors. In November, shareholders re-elected each of them for a one-year board term, but they would be able to resign their posts sooner.微软公司方面没回应鲍尔默或者牵头创始人、曾任该公司首席执行长19年之久的盖茨否不会复职董事会。去年11月份,股东们投票将两人再度入选董事会,任期一年,但他们可以提早离任。At least some external executives who discussed the CEO job with Microsoft directors have expressed concerns about being hamstrung if the two men continue to serve on the board, according to people familiar with their thinking.据知情人士称之为,最少有一些与微软公司董事辩论过首席执行长职位的其他公司高管曾传达过对如果鲍尔默和盖茨之后回到董事会可能会令其他们受到束缚的忧虑。Outside CEO candidates know that part of what they are negotiating for is the level of engagement of Mr. Ballmer and Mr. Gates once the new leader takes charge, a person familiar with the matter said.一位知情人士称之为,外部首席执行长候选人告诉,离任之后鲍尔默和盖茨的参予程度是他们谈判内容的一部分。

Microsofts experience shows the challenge in crafting a role for a founder or former CEO. Having them around as a sounding board or an elder statesman can be handy--unless the arrangement devolves into squabbling or a boardroom coup.微软公司的经历也指出在为创始人或前首席执行长定位方面不存在的艰难。将他们作为一个前辈回到公司董事会或者当董事会不不存在对立的时候有可能很便利,但如果不存在对立或者发展沦为董事会政变就几乎不一样了。Former Pfizer Inc. CEO Henry Hank McKinnell sat on the board alongside his predecessor for more than five years, until directors orchestrated his retirement in 2006, 18 months ahead of schedule.辉瑞(Pfizer Inc.)前首席执行长麦金内尔(Henry Hank McKinnell)与他的前任联合在该公司董事会供职多达五年,直到2006年他在董事会的压力下提早18个月离任。Whats really a bad idea is a former CEO of your company staying on the board, Mr. McKinnell said in a late-October interview. You cant win.麦金内尔在去年10月底拒绝接受专访时回应,将前任首席执行长回到公司董事会是在不是一个好主意,你输掉没法。

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally, who has been considered for the Microsoft post, has long lived with a similar power-sharing arrangement. Bill Ford Jr. is the auto makers executive chairman, as well as a former CEO, major stockholder and member of its founding family.福特汽车(Ford Motor Co.)首席执行长、微软公司首席执行长的候选人之一穆拉利(Alan Mulally)长期以来仍然正处于这种类似于的权力分享的决定之中。比尔福特(Bill Ford Jr.)是该公司的继续执行董事长,曾多次兼任过首席执行长,也是公司的大股东及创立家族成员。


Some candidates for the top post at Microsoft seem to be particularly uneasy about Mr. Ballmer, according to people familiar with their thinking. He has made several recent decisions that have altered the companys strategy and generated controversy among managers and investors.据知情人士说道,微软公司的一些首席执行长人选或许特别是在对鲍尔默深感不悦。他最近做到了数项决策,这些决策转变了微软公司的战略,在管理人员和投资者中引起了争议。Ten days after the August announcement of his planned exit, Mr. Ballmer struck a $7.4 billion deal to buy Nokia Corp.s mobile-phone business, thrusting Microsoft into a new field and adding 32,000 people to its workforce. This summer, Mr. Ballmer also pushed through a sweeping corporate reorganization that garnered mixed reviews inside and outside Microsoft.去年8月鲍尔默计划离任的消息宣告之后10天,他与诺基亚公司(Nokia Corp.)达成协议了一项交易,耗资74亿美元并购后者的手机业务,微软公司由此被抛入一个新的领域,员工人数将减少3.2万人。去年夏天,鲍尔默还促使了一项全面的公司重组计划,在公司内外引起了褒贬不一的评价。

People who know him question whether Mr. Ballmer could sit by if his successor wanted to break free of his strategy or policies. It isnt clear how Microsofts board, which backed Mr. Ballmers moves, would react if the next CEO wanted to reverse some of his decisions.了解鲍尔默的人批评,如果他的继任者期望挣脱他的战略或政策,鲍尔默否需要坐视不管。目前不确切如果新任首席执行长想要撤消鲍尔默的一些要求,那么反对鲍尔默措施的微软公司董事会将做到何反应。Microsoft directors have sought to delicately manage Mr. Ballmers role in screening CEO candidates, said the person familiar with the matter. Neither Mr. Ballmer nor Mr. Gates has veto power over the selection of the companys next leader, this person said. Messrs. Ballmer and Gates collectively own 8.3% of Microsofts stock.据一位知情人士说道,微软公司的董事们仍然谋求慎重地处置鲍尔默在征选首席执行长人选方面扮演着的角色。

这位人士说道,鲍尔默和盖茨对微软公司新的领导人的自由选择都没“立法权”。鲍尔默和盖茨共计持有人微软公司8.3%的股份。Mr. Ballmer himself faced a similar challenge when he took over as CEO from Mr. Gates in 2000. Their power struggles in the early years stalled some company decisions. Microsoft director David Marquardt and others stepped in, seeking to lessen tensions between the two men, who have known each other since they shared a Harvard University dorm in the mid-1970s.鲍尔默2000年接任盖茨兼任首席执行长时,也曾面对类似于挑战。早期他们两人之间的权力斗争令其公司的部分决策陷于中断。

微软公司董事马夸特(David Marquardt)等人插手,谋求减轻他们两人之间的紧绷关系。上世纪70年代中期,鲍尔默和盖茨曾是哈佛大学(Harvard University)室友,两人由此结识。


Mr. Gates is no wallflower either. People who have worked with him say that as chairman and a revered technologist, he can dominate board discussions.盖茨也不是局外人。与其共事过的人说道,作为董事长和一名倍受敬重的技术专家,他需要主导董事会辩论。In an interview with the Financial Times published in November, Mr. Gates said he expected to spend considerable time working with the next Microsoft CEO.在《金融时报》(Financial Times)去年11月刊出的专访中,盖茨称之为他预计将花费大量的时间与微软公司新的首席执行长共事。

Adding to the cast of boardroom characters is ValueAct Capital Management. The hedge fund bought more than $2 billion in Microsoft stock in 2013, and parlayed shareholder unhappiness into a board seat. ValueAct President G. Mason Morfit, who is likely to join the Microsoft board this year, will be the first director in the companys 38-year history not selected by Microsofts board.微软公司董事会还将还包括ValueAct Capital Management。这只对冲基金2013年耗资逾20亿美元买入了微软公司股票。该基金的总裁墨菲兹(Mason Morfit)今年有可能重新加入微软公司董事会,他将是微软公司38年历史中第一位不是由微软公司董事会自由选择的董事。

Relations can be rocky when an activist shareholder joins a board he previously criticized. Investor William Ackman quit the J.C. Penney Co. board in August after he clashed with other directors over the retailers management and strategy. On the flip side, adding an activist shareholders representatives to the board helped Office Depot Inc. last year to smooth a bumpy merger with OfficeMax Inc.当一位维权股东重新加入其之前抨击的董事会时,关系有可能很难处置。投资者阿克曼(William Ackman)去年8月解散了J.C. Penney Co.的董事会,之前他与其他董事因该零售商的管理和战略再次发生了冲突。但一个忽略的例子是,Office Depot Inc.董事会中重新加入一位维权股东的代表后,协助该公司去年顺利完成了与OfficeMax Inc.棘手的拆分交易。