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Bill Gates' Former Right-Hand Man Is Now the 5th Richest Person in the World Ballmer was Microsoft's 30th employee when he started in 1980.

By Sam Silverman

Key Takeaways

  • Steve Ballmer is the owner of the LA Clippers.
  • The majority of his fortune comes from his Microsoft shares.
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Steve Ballmer has come a long way since starting his career as Bill Gates' assistant.

The former Microsoft CEO took the No. 5 spot on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index on Monday with an estimated net worth of $117 billion.

He is now sitting just behind his old boss — Gates is listed at No. 4 with a fortune of $123 billion.

RELATED: Bill Gates Says Lazy People Make the Best Employees. But Is Your Laziness Actually Masking a Deeper Issue?

Photo by Kevin P Casey/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp. chief executive officer, speaks at Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting while Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. chairman, listens in Bellevue, Washington, Tuesday, November 14, 2006.

Who is Steve Ballmer?

Ballmer first met Gates while they both attended Harvard University. Gates recruited Ballmer to join Microsoft as the company's 30th employee in 1980, per Bloomberg.

He got started as Gates' right-hand man before working his way up to CEO in 2000. After three decades at the company and 14 years at the helm, Ballmer retired in 2014. He handed the reins to Satya Nadella, who is still the company's CEO today.

RELATED: Bill Gates Used to Fly Economy All the Time When He Could Easily Afford First Class — For a Surprisingly Relatable Reason

How did Steve Ballmer make his money?

The majority of Ballmer's fortune comes from his 4% stake in Microsoft. The tech company's 2014 proxy disclosed that Ballmer had 333 million Microsoft shares but he sold 14 million shares to purchase the LA Clippers for $2 billion in August 2014.

When Ballmer retired from Microsoft in 2014, he was the largest individual shareholder behind Gates.

Ballmer has since been focused on his basketball team and is building a new $2 billion arena for the Clippers called The Intuit Dome. The dome is still under construction and is expected to open for the 2024 - 2025 season.

RELATED: Google's Founders Have Lost a Combined $62.8 Billion in the Past Year. Here's What Other Billionaires Including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk Have Lost

Sam Silverman

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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