The lead independent director, John Thompson, previously spearheaded security firm Symantec, has led IBM, and has been a board-member of the Redmond giant for quite some time now. While some people saw him more fitting for the CEO's position, it is being believed that he himself didn't want the job.
The new role, previously filled by Gates, seems pretty enticing and changes many equations. Now that Gates is no longer the Chairman, perhaps he won't have much say on things, but we have also heard that he will be investing more of his time in the company. It will be interesting to see how Thompson plays out his new role.
Microsoft is yet to make a big dent in the mobile computing space and has been getting serious challenges from Apple and Google when it comes to the Office productivity and Desktop operating system arena. Some exciting new changes are sure to come with new leadership!