Mobile Specialist John Stanton Joins Microsoft's Board

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jul 31, 2014

john microsoft

Wireless industry veteran John Stanton has recently joined Microsoft’s board. The company was reportedly struggling to get the mobile specialist into its board for a while. Stanton, who is now in his late 50s, was working as the chairman of wireless broadband company Clearwire Corp until a year ago.

The move to appoint Stanton, comes six months into the leadership of new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, whose motto for the company is “mobile-first, cloud-first”, a shift from its historical strength in PC software.

While investors have applauded Nadella’s bold yet sensible steps until now, they still have concerns about the $7.2 billion purchase this year of Nokia’s handset business. The buyout of the handset maker has undoubtedly helped Microsoft dive directly into the phone market, there is a lot of pressure on the company to deliver results as only about 4 percent of smartphones globally currently run on Windows operating system.

Barely two weeks ago, Nadella also announced 18,000 job cuts at Microsoft, with most coming from the phone business it acquired from Nokia but said the objective is to streamline operations and ‘rightsize the company.”

“John’s insights into mobility around the globe and his expertise in working with organizations as CEO and as a board member will be invaluable as we transform Microsoft for growth and leadership in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Nadella said in a statement.

Stanton was a senior executive at McCaw Cellular in 1980s, a pioneer in the nascent wireless industry, later becoming part of AT&T. Between 1995 and 2003, he led VoiceStream Wireless, which was bought by Deutsche Telekom and later renamed T-Mobile USA. He went on to become a director and then chairman at Clearwire from 2008 to 2013, says a Reuters report.

At present, Microsoft has 11 board members, including former CEOs Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. The latter stepped down as chairman earlier this year and was replaced by lead independent director John Thompson. In March, the company’s board added Mason Morfit, a president of activist investor ValueAct Capital. Analysts believe Stanton’s joining the board can open up newer opportunities in the mobile space.