Microsoft veteran to lead Gates Foundation

Jeff Raikes to replace Patty Stonesifer, who is moving to new role at philanthropic group

Longtime Microsoft Corp. senior executive Jeff Raikes, who announced his retirement in January, today unveiled his postretirement plans: He will take on the role of CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In an announcement today, the foundation said that Raikes will replace Patty Stonesifer, who is stepping down after having held the CEO position for the past 10 years.

Jeff Raikes

Jeff Raikes Raikes, a 26-year Microsoft veteran who was previously in charge of Office, Windows Server, SQL Server and other key products as president of Microsoft's business division, will begin his new job on Sept. 2. Raikes announced his retirement from Microsoft on Jan. 8. The following month, Stonesifer unveiled her own plans to move to a new role within the foundation, while giving up her job as CEO later this year. When Stonesifer announced her move, she said she "plans to stay engaged in the work of the foundation in a new and different way," according to the group.

Raikes was chosen after a worldwide search, according to foundation co-chairman Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates. "Jeff brings more than 25 years of experience in the private sector and has earned a reputation as a trusted and respected leader," she said in a statement. "Equally important, he shares our passion for these issues and for continuing Patty's work to build a great culture at the foundation. Jeff is the right CEO to lead the strategies we have in place to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world."

Raikes could not immediately be reached for comment late today.

"Joining the Gates Foundation is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on improving the lives of others," Raikes said in a statement. "Patty Stonesifer is a remarkable leader who has cultivated equally remarkable leadership at the foundation. I am thrilled to join Bill and Melinda and this team because I'm convinced that through strong partnerships, ambitious goals, and a commitment to impact, we can transform people's lives."

Foundation co-chairman Bill Gates said in a statement that Raikes is a "smart, independent thinker who's passionate about using innovation to help people change their lives."

The Seattle-based foundation has a $37.3 billion endowment and more than 500 employees, according to the group.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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