While I was in the air flying back to Seattle Wednesday, hedge fund manager David Einhorn declared that Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer should leave the company at an investment conference.
Several news outlets reported Einhorn’s comments at the Ira Sohn Conference, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Einhorn manages Greenlight Capital, formerly one of largest 100 investors in Microsoft.
Einhorn said it’s time for the board to say, “We’ve seen what you can do,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Ballmer has been CEO for the past 10 years. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the chairman of the board.
Ballmer is the reason the stock is performing poorly, he said in the Journal’s story. Here are some excerpted Einhorn quotes from the report:
“His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft stock.”
“Microsoft’s business has been much stronger than the average company in the S&P in the past five years. … Microsoft isn’t getting credit for some of its achievements and prospects.”
He also described Microsoft’s management style as “Charlie Brown,” according to the Journal.
This is not the first time Einhorn has publicly rebuked Ballmer. He criticized Ballmer in 2008 when he sold his stake in Microsoft. Here is our 2008 story on the earlier dressing down.