Once seen as a potential successor to Bill Gates at Microsoft, Jeff Raikes will now follow the billionaire philanthropist to the Gates Foundation instead. Yesterday, the Gates Foundation announced that outgoing Microsoft president Jeff Raikes will become its CEO after he leaves the software giant in September.

"He's a smart, independent thinker who's passionate about using innovation to help people change their lives," Gates Foundation founder and co-chairman Bill Gates said, nothing that he's known and admired Raikes for 25 years. Raikes was responsible for Microsoft's dominant Office product line.

Founded over a decade ago, the Gates Foundation has awarded billions of dollars in grants to global health and development initiatives and to US education programs. It has an endowment of over $37 billion, thanks primarily to the largess of its founder and institutional investors like Warren Buffett.

Raikes, a multi-millionaire in his own right, previously founded the Raikes Foundation, which focuses on children, education, and community issues. Raikes describes his new job as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform people's lives."