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It's official: Microsoft adds ValueAct's Morfit to the board

Mason Morfit, the president of activist shareholder ValueAct Capital, is officially now a member of Microsoft's board of directors.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

After months of alleged wrangling, Microsoft has added Mason Morfit, the President of activist shareholder ValueAct Capital, to the company's board.

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Microsoft officials made the announcement on March 11 via a press release.

In late August last year, Microsoft and ValueAct announced an agreement that gave ValueAct the option of having Morfit join the Microsoft board at the first quarterly board meeting after the 2013 annual shareholders meeting, which was slated for this month, March 2014.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Microsoft agreed to allow Morfit to join the board to avoid a proxy fight.

Microsoft's board of directors now consists of 11 members: Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO; Dina Dublon, former CFO of JPMorgan Chase; Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and newly appointed technology advisor; Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College; Stephen Luczo, chairman and CEO of Seagate; David Marquardt, General Partner at August Capital; Morfit; Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO; Charles Noski, Former Vice Chairman of Bank of America; Helmut Panke, former Chairman of the board of management at BMW; and John W. Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments.

Thompson was appointed the new chair of Microsoft's board, replacing Gates, on February 4, the same day that Nadella was named CEO. 

"Eight of the 11 board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent," the press release notes.

Morfit is believed to be in favor of seeing Microsoft focus more on its strengths -- its enterprise software and service assets -- and less so on consumer and hardware.

Microsoft also announced yesterday that its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share. The dividend is payable June 12, 2014, to shareholders of record on May 15, 2014.

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