When Steve Ballmer left his posts as Microsoft CEO and board member in 2014, he made it clear he wouldn’t be selling his Microsoft shares anytime soon. “I’d like to own Microsoft shares until I either give something to charity or I die,” Ballmer told FORBES in 2014.
Ballmer became the company’s largest individual shareholder in 2014, with a 4% stake. That’s higher than the nearly 3% currently owned by Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, who has diversified his wealth over time. Ballmer’s main focus now is the Los Angeles Clippers, which he bought for $2 billion in August 2014, the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. He failed in two previous bids, one to buy the SuperSonics in 2006 and another to acquire the Sacramento Kings in 2013.
Ballmer and his wife, Connie, have started on the philanthropic path, announcing a $50 million gift to the University of Oregon and an undisclosed donation to Harvard’s computer science department in November 2014. A Detroit native, he dropped out of Stanford’s MBA program to join Harvard classmate Bill Gates in 1980 as employee number 30. He took over for Gates as CEO in January 2000.