Less Than Half of Microsoft Employees Approve of Ballmer

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.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Grandmastersexsay
    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.
  • zfreak280

    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.
  • shotgunz

    Wouldn't want this guy as CEO either.

  • spentshells
    We have the same problem with our government in Canada
  • egilbe
    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.
  • smeezekitty
    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.
  • DXRick
    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.
  • house70
    Try to poll the consumers; I think they'll run into 'sub-zero' numbers, LOL.
  • iam2thecrowe
    11846019 said:
    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.
  • jalek
    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.