Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Commits to Diversity, Approves CEO Pay

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) held its annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, its first under new CEO Satya Nadella. The event was attended by Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer, who stepped down from the company in February to focus on NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, which he purchased for $2 billion. Also at the meeting is activist Jesse Jackson, who, together with Ballmer,  took the limelight from Microsoft’s executives.

Jackson, a civil rights activist known for his advocacy towards diversity in the workplace, opened the meeting’s question-and-answer part by saying that the  technology industry does not look like America or reflect the population and consumers that it relies upon for success”. In response, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Nadella gave an assurance that the company is focusing to ensure that it will be the best place of employment for “people across  cultures, genders, ethnicities, and lifestyles”. Microsoft’s current workforce is 71% male and 61% Caucasian. CEO Nadella originates from India, while Chairman John Thompson is African American.

Microsoft (MSFT)For his part, Ballmer, although not asking questions publicly at the meeting, showed dissatisfaction when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood evaded a question from a shareholder regarding the price at which the company would not buy its shares back. Hood managed to disregard the direct question by implying that Microsoft shares will continue to keep up in accordance with company performance. Ballmer, who is one of the company’s biggest shareholders, told Reuters in an interview that he did not ask questions because the company updates him as a block shareholder. He currently controls a 4% stake in the company estimated to be worth $23 billion.

On the other hand, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) shareholders approved CEO Nadella’s pay package estimated to be worth $90 million, consisting mostly of Microsoft stocks accruing to him over time. Previously, Microsoft shareholders were advised by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) to oppose Nadella’s pay package on grounds that it is too high. Microsoft defended its pay package for Nadella saying that it is way much lower compared to CEOs from other companies. Microsoft stock has seen an upward surge of over 32% since Nadella took over its reins.

This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.

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