From its humble beginnings as a software developer for the burgeoning personal computer industry in 1975 to one of the most powerful and profitable worldwide corporations, Microsoft is one of the greatest corporate success stories of all time. The largest shareholders of the company include both current executives and former company leaders. All figures are as of November 29th, 2017. 

1. Bill Gates

The former CEO and chairman, Gates is the headliner of several top wealthiest people lists, with an approximate net worth of $90.2 billion according to Forbes. As of November 2017, he holds around 102.9 million shares of Microsoft stock.

In May of 2017, Gates donated 64 million shares of his Microsoft stock. Gates has been selling approximately 80 million shares of Microsoft stock annually for over a decade to fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The husband and wife team began the philanthropic organization in 1997 and lead its mission to improve lives in the poorest countries in the world. The private foundation focuses on health issues, such as the eradication of malaria and polio, and controlling the spread of tuberculosis and HIV. Gates has recently made a $50 million donation to the Dementia Discover Fund to help fund Alzheimers research. 

2. Mason Morfit 

Mason Morfit is a former director of Microsoft, where he was the youngest director on the board by over a decade. His term on the board of directors ended on November 29, 2017 during the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting. According to Microsoft's proxy report from the same time, as of September 29, 2017, Morfit owned 9.01 million shares of Microsoft stock. However, since then, The vast majority of those holdings have been sold or transferred to Morfit's company, ValueAct, where Morfit was recently named Chief Investment Officer. 

3. Satya Nadella  

Taking over for Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft in 2014, Satya Nadella has an extensive compensation package including lucrative annual performance-based stock awards. As of December 2017, he holds over 2.9 million shares of company stock. If Microsoft's stock performs well compared to the S&P 500 through 2021, Nadella stands to receive up to 600,000 additional shares since 2015.

Before taking the helm at Microsoft, Nadella was executive vice president of one of the company’s fastest-growing businesses, the Cloud and Enterprise group. Since taking over as CEO, company share prices have reached a 15-year high and projects such as the Windows 10 operating system and the Surface Book have performed well.

4. Jean-Phillipe Courtois 

Jean-Phillipe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Global Sales, Marketing & Operations joined Microsoft back in 1984 as a channel sales representative, eventually becoming general manager of Microsoft France. Courtois also served as president of Microsoft International. Courtois travels often, visiting all of the company's locations around the world. 

Courtois is the fourth largest shareholder in Microsoft, with 559,473 shares of Microsoft stock to his name as of November 2017. 

5. Bradford Smith

Bradford Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of the company, is the fifth-largest individual shareholder of Microsoft stock. Smith supervises corporate, external and legal affairs and currently owns 852,563 shares of the company.

Before joining Microsoft in 1993, he was an associate and then partner at Covington and Burling in Washington, D.C. In addition to his position at Microsoft, Smith serves on the board of directors at Netflix and chairs several non-profit organizations.      

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