- Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft and rode its success to become one of the world's richest men, is leaving the software giant's board of directors.
Allen, 47, will not seek re-appointment to the board, but he will serve as a "senior strategy adviser" to chairman and fellow co-founder Bill Gates and other high-level Microsoft executives, a company representative said.
Allen's 140 investments keep him "extremely busy," and he decided to focus on them, the representative said. Through his Vulcan Ventures, Allen has made a wide array of investments in the wireless, multimedia, and broadband worlds; he also owns two professional sports teams: the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, funded the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and oversees six charitable organizations.
"Being an active board member for a dynamic and successful company such as Microsoft is a time-intensive role and one I have enjoyed for many years," Allen said in a statement. "However, this new role will enable me to spend my time on technology and products, where I can really make a significant contribution."
Gates and Allen founded Microsoft in 1975, but Allen left after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1982. He resigned from the company's board of directors a year later, rejoining the board in 1990.
Earlier this month Forbes magazine declared Allen the world's third richest man, at $36 billion, trailing only Gates and Oracle's Chairman Larry Ellison.
Another board member, Richard Hackborn, will not seek re-election at Microsoft's November shareholder meeting, the company said. Allen and Hackborn will not be replaced on the board, which is chaired by Gates; its size will shrink from eight to six members.
Hackborn, 63, has served on the Microsoft board since 1994. He stepped down as chairman of the board of Hewlett-Packard Co. last week, but will remain on the Hewlett-Packard board.