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Hedge fund star calls for Microsoft CEO to go

Date: Thursday, May 26, 2011
Author: Svea Herbst and Edwin Chan, Reuters

Influential hedge fund manager David Einhorn called for Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer to step down, saying the software company's long-time chief was stuck in the past.

Einhorn, speaking at the annual Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference in New York on Wednesday, said it was time for Ballmer -- who succeeded co-founder Bill Gates in 2000 -- to step aside and "give someone else a chance."

"His continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock," he said, making one of the sharpest public investor comments yet against the Microsoft CEO.

Einhorn, the president of Greenlight Capital, which had $7.8 billion of assets as of Jan. 1, first rose to prominence for making a prescient call on Lehman Brothers' accounting troubles before the bank's subsequent collapse.

Shares of Microsoft edged up 0.8 percent to $24.40 in after hours trade from a regular-session close of $24.19.