Microsoft's Raikes to head Gates Foundation

Executive announced earlier this year his September departure from Microsoft

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, will take over as CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation when he leaves the software giant in September.

Raikes, a 26-year veteran of the company, announced in January that he was stepping down at Microsoft, saying it was the right time to "leave the (business division) in the capable hands of our new generation of leaders."

For the past two years, Raikes, 49, has been instrumental in pushing the company's information worker strategy and its VoIP initiative. In January, he was the executive who announced Microsoft's US$1.23 billion offer to acquire Fast Search & Transfer.

Raikes, a native of Nebraska and part owner of the Seattle Mariners Major League Baseball club, has been a high-profile executive with Microsoft as part of the company's senior leadership team that includes CEO Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates.

Gates is leaving the company in July to concentrate on the foundation that Raikes will now direct. Gates is a co-chair of the foundation.

Raikes is not new to philanthropy, having co-founded the Raikes Foundation with his wife, Tricia. The Raikes Foundation made more than US$6 million in grants in 2007.

The private family foundation makes direct grants to nonprofit organizations that focus on youth development, education and community issues mostly in the Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest. It also makes annual contributions to the United Way of King County.

Raikes said in a statement Tuesday, "Joining the Gates Foundation is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on improving the lives of others."

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a US$37.3 billion endowment and has committed more than US$16 billion in grants to help people all over the world.

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