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Less Than Half of Microsoft Employees Approve of Ballmer

By - Source: The Washington Post | B 18 comments

This is according to a Washington Post poll.

The Washington Post has thrown up a list of approval ratings for a number of CEOs, ranked by their employees. Unsurprisingly, at the top of this list is Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, with a 97 percent approval rating followed by another social-based CEO, Dick Costolo of Twitter, with a 96 percent approval rating from employees. Larry Page (Google), John Watson (Chevron), Alan Mullaly (Ford), Tim Cook (Apple) and Bob Iger (Disney) fill out the 90 percentage group and above.

Strangely enough, the list actually ends with Steve Ballmer of Microsoft at the bottom with a 47 percent approval rating from employees. Just above Ballmer is Mike Duke of Wal-Mart (48 percent), Randall Stephenson of AT&T (50 percent), Lowell McAdam of Verizon (58 percent) and John Donahoe of eBay (58 percent). Citigroup's Michael Corbat is the only CEO in the 60 percentile range with a 65 percent approval rating.

CNN Money reported that Ford's CEO Alan Mullaly was trying to dispel speculation that he was getting ready to jump off the Ford gravy train for Microsoft's opening position. Current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to step down into "early retirement" twelve months from August, or when the special committee stumbles across a new CEO. Mullaly is one of many outsiders being considered for Redmond's CEO chair.

"I'm clearly excited and honored to continue to serve Ford," Mullaly said during a call with analysts about the company's strong third-quarter results. However, when a reporter asked if he had talked to Microsoft, he refused to answer, saying he would not comment on speculation. When asked if he planned to stay with Ford beyond 2014, all he would say is that "our plan has not changed."

Last year Ford revealed Mullaly's plans to stay through 2014, and named Mark Fields as president, reportedly a position that previously hadn't been filled. There's speculation that Fields will replace Mullaly when the latter 68-year-old CEO does eventually step down. Mullaly has been Ford's CEO since 2006, and credited for helping Ford avoid bankruptcy.

Also in the Washington Post's list of CEOs are Jeff Bezos of Amazon with an 87 percent approval rating, Howard Schultz of Starbucks (87 percent), Muhtar Kent of Coca Cola (87 percent), Jeff Immelt of General Electric (82 percent), and Larry Ellison of Oracle (79 percent).

The full list can be read here.

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  • -6 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , November 2, 2013 7:10 AM
    CEO likeability is obviously not a performance metric of the CEO. The only thing it might actually tell you is something about the employees themselves. Walmart's CEO has a 48% approval ratting? Interesting. I wonder if it has anything to do with their employee base consisting of seniors citizens forced out of retirement due to financial reasons, underprivileged teenagers who need to feed their baby's mama, and of course the physically handicapped. I wouldn't expect these employees to be happy with anything.

    Considering how bad Microsoft's screw ups have been lately, I wouldn't be surprised if their employee based had a similar demographic to that of Walmart. This poll could actually explain a lot.
  • 4 Hide
    zfreak280 , November 2, 2013 9:02 AM
    @Grandmastersexsay

    The problem with this statistic and 99% of all reported statistics (pun intended) is that they have no meaning by themselves. You can draw conclusions all day about what one statistic means, but your conclusion can be invalidated by another statistic.

    So what if Ballmer has an approval rating of 47% by his employees? Does that mean the company is failing because their employees don't like their CEO? Or does it mean that their employees don't like their benefits? Or does it mean that the employees don't like the direction their company is heading? There are also questions that need to be asked about the statistic itself. How many employees were questioned? Was it all performed in one department or was it spread out across the entire company? Were former employees included? These are important questions that need to be asked to draw VALID CONCLUSIONS from any one statistic.

    The problem with these one statistic articles is either a problem with the study or the article that is reporting the study. I am willing to bet the problem is with the article. Personally, I don't care enough about Ballmer's approval rating to waste my time researching this.
  • 1 Hide
    shotgunz , November 2, 2013 11:38 AM


    Wouldn't want this guy as CEO either.

    http://i.imgur.com/osFeos2.jpg
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , November 2, 2013 11:41 AM
    We have the same problem with our government in Canada
  • 3 Hide
    egilbe , November 2, 2013 12:44 PM
    If you pay your employees well and they make money off the stock, of course the CEO's of the company are going to be highly praised. If the stock price goes into the toilet and the Board of Directors only care about padding their bank account at the expense of their employees (i.e. most American corporations) of course their employees are going to see the effects of poor leadership first.
  • 1 Hide
    smeezekitty , November 2, 2013 1:22 PM
    Grandmastersexsay:
    Those are some mighty big assumptions you are making. Not to mention unnecessarily throwing around insults.

    You seem to think that CEOs are perfect. Not that I am saying that those CEOs are bad or good because I don't really know, but you cannot just automatically blame it on the workers.
  • 5 Hide
    DXRick , November 2, 2013 2:12 PM
    Gone are the days when the CEO actually knows what the workers actually do, by having done it themselves.

    As if a CEO from Ford can run a software company. What happens is they bring in their group of friends to fill the positions below them. Their friends hire their friends, and so on. Eventually, the company is run by a bunch of nitwits and the employees no longer see any upward mobility.

    I have experienced this with 2 companies and hear the same thing from others.
  • 2 Hide
    house70 , November 2, 2013 3:03 PM
    Try to poll the consumers; I think they'll run into 'sub-zero' numbers, LOL.
  • 1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , November 2, 2013 5:03 PM
    Quote:
    We have the same problem with our government in Canada


    Thats normal for any government, you vote some guy in for his promises, then realize he is actually a duche bag.
  • 0 Hide
    jalek , November 2, 2013 5:20 PM
    Ballmer was never on Gates' level inside or outside the company.
    When I day-traded, you could watch the bounce as the stop dipped after a Ballmer presentation, then recovered if Gates just made a statement later in the day.

    Investors are funny, but employees likely have other reasons to like/dislike how the company is being directed.
  • 0 Hide
    lathe26 , November 3, 2013 7:41 PM
    I imagine that Steve Ballmer's approval rating with ex-Microsoft employees is even lower.
  • 0 Hide
    bin1127 , November 3, 2013 11:11 PM
    Well they can just go suck my Ballmers.
  • 1 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 4, 2013 12:18 AM
    I never thought this guy was good for Microsoft. Sure he increased profit, but to be frank, Microsoft "Dominated" the OS market so hard, they had every chance to jump onto any other market they wanted.

    And what happened? In the tablet market... not much. Same in the smartphone market.
    They also got a negative opinion on their gaming/console market.
    And their Last OS, Win8, is actually considered a downgrade by a vast majority of the customers and retailers (hell, in many places win8 is cheaper than win7).

    To be fair thou, we are at an economical recession, but still...

    Now... one could say that its not Ballmer himself that developed win8, or the tablets... but as a CEO you are the one calling the shots.
  • 0 Hide
    egilbe , November 4, 2013 4:53 AM
    Friend of mine who is an Network Admin Manager says Microsoft is seriously ignoring their core products like Office, Exchange, and Server OS's. This last iteration of Office 365 is the worst deployment he's ever seen and when he followed the instructions provided by Microsoft to migrate email over, it completely wiped out his email boxes and custom filters. When the Tech Support guy from India sent him instructions on how to fix it, it made it worse. Now, there is only one Engineer in MS that knows how his email is set up and its non-standard and any support calls are routed through this one engineer because he's the only one who understands the bandaid fix. There is no way to roll back to the previous version of his Exchange/Outlook. He is pissed. He's convinced the CIO that Microsoft solutions are no longer valid and coming from someone who works in the Banking industry, that says quite a bit.
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , November 4, 2013 7:21 AM
    Quote:
    Gone are the days when the CEO actually knows what the workers actually do, by having done it themselves.

    As if a CEO from Ford can run a software company. What happens is they bring in their group of friends to fill the positions below them. Their friends hire their friends, and so on. Eventually, the company is run by a bunch of nitwits and the employees no longer see any upward mobility.

    I have experienced this with 2 companies and hear the same thing from others.


    Yep seen it myself. We called it Golf-course Recruitment.

    Just because one CEO was a whizz at selling cars doesn't mean he'll make the same magic happen in a different industry.

    I worked for a worldwide Insurance company that for years had worked on the basis of staff moving up the ladder. So the guy at the top knew what he was talking about. We actually felt assured because we knew he started out in the mail room 30+ years previously. You couldn't BS these guys because they knew the job and the industry. As a result we were a solid financial company offering good solid products.

    Then around 12 years ago we got infected with Golfcourse Recruitment. We then had exec members from the telecoms industry, pharma, media groups, retail etc. etc. Not one of them had come through the financial services. Therefore, they didn't know anything, didn't want to be involved in it so started wanting to ....diversify!

    So there we were selling TVs, Cars, all sorts of stuff we didnt need to be doing. All the while our financial products and market share withered away. They then found out that selling white goods was a waste of time so they dumped it all but by then the damage was done. Never recovered.

    I decided to leave a few years ago when I was classed as 'old school'! Simply because I knew how the business worked, having been the only one left that had actually worked in most of it since I was 18. I was considered negative due to me putting my hand up stating politely that these 'groovy new ideas' wouldn't work because

    A. We had tried them already twice before they arrived.
    B. That's not how the business/sector works.

    When your company is infected with Golf-course Recruitment Syndrome, actually knowing what you are talking about is seen as a bad thing. Time to move on.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , November 4, 2013 8:49 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    We have the same problem with our government in Canada


    Thats normal for any government, you vote some guy in for his promises, then realize he is actually a duche bag.


    I don't really know what Spent is complaining about in the case of Canada. Canada elected a Prime Minister into a minority government who, as a minority government leader, saw Canada through the recession in such a way that it had *significantly* less effect on Canada than the big neighbour to the south. His fiscal policies made it hit Canada less hard than the US, made Canada recover faster, and has generally made them one of the most stable economies and one of the most prosperous countries in the Western world. Harper may be a uncharismatic boor, but if you actually go by results, the guy has been a blessing to Canada.

    Doesn't surprise me that they voted him into a majority government after his success as the leader of a minority government. Guy has been awesome for them, and a lot of countries - the US included - just wish they had a no-flash leader who got the job done when times were tough, rather than got voted in on charisma and a bunch of overblown promises.
  • 0 Hide
    Johnpombrio , November 4, 2013 9:53 AM
    That high?
  • 0 Hide
    Anaxamenes , November 4, 2013 11:26 AM
    Employee morale plays an increasingly important role in business these days. A happier workforce is a more productive workforce and I think it's somewhere like 70-90% of employees are interested in leaving their current jobs. As the economy slowly gets better, they will and bad companies will see lower productivity.