Jeff Raikes and Bill Gates

Raikes steps down as CEO of Gates Foundation

Former Microsoft exec Jeff Raikes said Tuesday that he would step down as the chief executive of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, theoretically freeing himself up as Microsoft searches for a new CEO.

However, in a memo posted to the Gates Foundation site, Raikes appears to be interested in retirement, rather than returning to the spotlight.

"When Bill and Melinda approached me about this job in May 2008, we discussed a five-year commitment," Raikes wrote. "I am proud of the work we’ve all done together in the past five years. We are having an impact on people’s lives every single day, and we are set up to keep on having an even bigger impact in the years to come.

"Now, I’m looking forward to doing some things I haven’t had time for, including my work at the Raikes Foundation, which is tackling youth and education issues," Raikes added.

Raikes was one of our shortlist for the next chief executive at Microsoft, in part because of his track record as president of the Microsoft Business Division and his reputation as a well-liked executive. Raikes is also obviously close to Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft who will help select the next chief executive as part of the executive committee.

“The foundation is in the best shape that it’s ever been in thanks to Jeff," Gates said in a statement about Raikes, shown together in a 2007 photo, above.. "He has successfully managed the organization through a period of significant growth, built a phenomenal leadership team, and set us on a great path programmatically. Thanks to Jeff we are at the place now where we will be able to have the impact we want."

Raikes said he would stay on until the Foundation names a replacement. Gates and his wife Melinda formed the Foundation in 2000, combining the William H. Gates Foundation with the Gates Learning Foundation to form a nonprofit designed to solve global problems of health, poverty, and education. In 2012, the total assets of the Gates Foundation totaled $37 billion.

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