LONDON Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer will be honored as Media Person of the Year at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in June.
Festival organizers said Ballmer (pictured) was chosen "in recognition of his leadership and Microsoft's continued commitment to digital advertising."
"We are delighted to honor Steve Ballmer, a passionate and dynamic personality whose energetic leadership and vision over the years has made Microsoft into the global leading brand that has touched the lives of millions, and changed the face of worldwide communication," Philip Thomas, festival CEO, said in a statement.
In making the announcement, organizers noted, "In less than a generation, the worlds of publishing and advertising have been transformed by a tidal wave of paradigm-busting digital technologies. Microsoft has been at the heart of these changes for over 30 years, bringing digital within reach of mainstream audiences and driving both consumer and advertiser innovation."
Ballmer will be honored during the Press, Cyber and Design Lions awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 24, at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. Earlier that day Ballmer is presenting the Microsoft Advertising Seminar for delegates.
Ballmer was one of the initial 24 employees at Microsoft after founder Bill Gates hired him in 1980 as the company's first business manager. In 1998, he was named president and in 2000 took over the CEO role from Gates.
Previous Media Person of the Year recipients include Sir Anthony O'Reilly, CEO, Independent News & Media; Tsuneo Watanabe, editor-in-chief, The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings; Gunter Thielen, CEO, Bertelsmann; Lachlan Murdoch, deputy CCO, News Corp.; Arnaud Lagardere, CEO, Lagardere Group; Sumner Redstone, CEO, Viacom; Gerald Levin, CEO, AOL Time Warner; Jean-Claude Decaux, president, JCDecaux Group; and Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister and media magnate.