Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has stepped down from the company's board of directors to focus on his new role as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as teaching and civic work.
Ballmer, a member of Microsoft's board since 2000, informed current CEO Satya Nadella of his decision in a letter sent Tuesday, which was published on Microsoft's website.
The National Basketball Association approved Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Clippers earlier this month. In the letter, Ballmer explained that the coming NBA season -- plus teaching, study and civic engagements -- will keep him too busy to maintain his spot on the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor's board.
"Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off," Ballmer said in the letter.
Nadella, in a response also posted to Microsoft's website, accepted Ballmer's decision.
"While your insights and leadership will be greatly missed as part of the board, I understand and support your decision," Nadella said in the letter.
Ballmer became Microsoft's largest noninstitutional shareholder in May and holds just over 333 million shares. He told Nadella he intends to keep his shares "for the foreseeable future."
Bill Gates is next with around 298 million shares. Gates stepped down as Microsoft chairman in February to take a new role on the board as founder and technology adviser, and was replaced by John Thompson, former Symantec CEO and a longtime IBM executive.
While Ballmer no longer holds an official role at Microsoft, he made it clear that he'll still be helping out in an informal capacity.
"I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will. I continue to love discussing the company’s future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing," Ballmer said in the letter.
NEXT: The Full Text Of Ballmer's Letter And Nadella's Response