Seagate CEO, who helped pick Nadella, leaves Microsoft's board

Stephen Luczo's tenure on the board lasted less than two years, but he was involved in the historic search for Microsoft's new CEO

After a brief but influential stint, Stephen Luczo, chairman and CEO of Seagate Technology, is leaving Microsoft's board of directors.

Luczo, who joined the board less than two years ago in May 2012, was a member of its compensation committee and the search committee that picked Satya Nadella to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of the company.

"It has been a pleasure serving on the Microsoft board, and helping to guide the company through such a historic period of change and reinvention," Luczo said in a statement Thursday.

The search for Ballmer's replacement was a highly publicized process that took almost six months, culminating with Nadella's appointment in February. Ballmer's decision to step down, announced in August, came as a surprise and set tongues wagging over what might have prompted it.

"With the CEO search completed and Satya off to a strong start, this felt like an appropriate time to make this change so I can turn my full attention to leading Seagate," Luczo said.

Board chairman John Thompson called Luczo an "excellent" board member who worked hard and made significant contributions in the CEO search and compensation committees, while Bill Gates, who now acts as a technology adviser to Microsoft, said he brought "thoughtful industry insights and perspective."

Last week, Microsoft appointed to its board Mason Morfit, the president of one of its biggest investors, ValueAct Capital, following an agreement between the companies in August.

That deal, signed about a week after Ballmer announced his intention to retire, gave Morfit the option to join the board in exchange for ValueAct's agreement not to wage a proxy battle against Microsoft.

Observers speculated at the time that Ballmer decided to retire to appease ValueAct and avoid a proxy fight, though Ballmer denied this. He said several times during the search for his replacement that he had become convinced Microsoft needed a new leader to get it where it needed to be more quickly.

With Luczo's resignation, Microsoft's board now has 10 members: Ballmer; Gates; Nadella; Morfit; Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments; Dina Dublon, former CFO of JPMorgan Chase; Maria M. Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College; David F. Marquardt, general partner at August Capital; Charles H. Noski, former vice chairman of Bank of America; and Helmut Panke, former chairman of the board of management at BMW.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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