Steven A. Ballmer has been Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corp., the world's leading manufacturer of software for personal and business computing, since January 2000 assuming full management responsibility for Microsoft Corp. Mr. Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 and was the first business manager hired by Bill Gates. Since then, Ballmer's passion and leadership have become hallmarks of his tenure at the company. During the past 20 years, Ballmer has headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. In July 1998, he was promoted to president, a role that gave him day-to-day responsibility for running Microsoft. He was named CEO in January 2000, assuming full management responsibility for Microsoft, including delivering on its vision of "empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device." Ballmer is known inside and outside the company for his devotion to building closer relationships with Microsoft customers and partners - and for ensuring their needs are heard, understood and served by every Microsoft employee. The foundation for this relationship - and the success of the company - is the reliable and powerful Windows 2000 platform, which was designed to support the most demanding enterprise and e-commerce needs. Ballmer also is presently leading the most comprehensive reinvention of Microsoft in the company's 25 years. Together with Gates and the company's other technical leaders, Ballmer will lead Microsoft's development of a revolutionary Microsoft .NET platform for desktop personal computers, servers, non-PC devices and the Internet. Microsoft's goal is to provide the platform to enable a seamless experience across different computing devices, software services and data sources, putting a unified face on a wide variety of digital interactions. Ballmer understands that Microsoft must be part of a community of partners, each providing a special focus and added value. Described variously as ebullient, focused, funny, passionate, sincere, hard charging and dynamic, Ballmer has infused Microsoft with his own brand of energetic discipline and spirit over the years. Ballmer, grew up near Detroit, where his father worked as a manager at Ford Motor Co. Mr. Ballmer has been a Director of Accenture Ltd., a General Partner of Accenture SCA, since October 2001 and Microsoft Corp. since January 2000. He graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics. While in college, Ballmer managed the football team, worked on the Harvard Crimson newspaper as well as the university literary magazine and roomed down the hall from fellow sophomore Gates. After college, he worked for two years at Procter & Gamble Co. as an assistant product manager and, before joining Microsoft, attended Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Ballmer jogs daily and loves basketball.