Microsoft Names Former Wireless Executive John Stanton to Board

Jul 31, 2014 12:01 am ET

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. named longtime wireless executive John Stanton as a director, as the largest software maker continues to make changes to its board after Satya Nadella was appointed chief executive officer in February.

Stanton, 59, takes the board to 11 members after the March departure of Steve Luczo, Microsoft said in a statement yesterday. Luczo was a member of the search committee that led the effort to select a new CEO.

Nadella’s promotion was accompanied by co-founder Bill Gates stepping down as chairman to be replaced by lead independent director John Thompson. The board also added activist investor Mason Morfit, president of ValueAct Holdings LP, under the terms of a cooperation pact struck last year with Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.

Since taking the helm, Nadella has unveiled plans to cut more than 18,000 jobs, shuffled senior leadership, killed unpromising products and boosted sales of computing tools delivered via the Internet, while seeking to reduce the company’s reliance on software installed on personal computers.

Stanton is a longtime fixture of the Seattle-area wireless industry, having spent several decades in the sector. He worked for wireless pioneer Craig McCaw at McCaw Cellular Communications in the 1980s and served as chairman and interim CEO at Clearwire Corp. Stanton currently serves as chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners, a wireless industry private equity fund.

Stanton was CEO of VoiceStream Wireless Corp. when it was sold to Deutsche Telekom AG in 2001, creating T-Mobile USA Inc. He was also CEO of Western Wireless Corp. when it was sold to Alltel Corp. in 2005.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also remains on the board, at least through November when all board members’ terms will end. Microsoft hasn’t said whether Ballmer will stand for re-election.

Tony Imperati, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment.