Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world's largest software developer, said it had elected John W. Thompson as lead independent director, succeeding Reed Hastings, who retired.


John Thompson III
John Thompson III might get some good news on Wednesday. Photo: REUTERS

Thompson, 63, was CEO of Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) for 10 years until 2009, after a long career at International Business Machines Corp. He's been a director of Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., since February.


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Thompson is now head of private Virtual Instruments of San Jose, Calif., as well as a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. Hastings, 51, is CEO of Netflix as well as a director of Facebook (Nasdaq: FB). He'd served as a Microsoft director since 2006.


Under recent financial reforms, a company's lead independent director is responsible for all board matters. The director may not be a company employee.


Shares of Microsoft closed at $26.93, down 43 cents, in Thursday trading.