As the driven CEO of Microsoft, famed for his boisterous personality, Steve Ballmer was bound to experience a low after his 33-year tenure at the computer giant came to an end.
So Ballmer came to terms with his loss via an indulgence most of us would recognise – he binge-watched more than 100 episodes of his favourite television programme.
Ballmer, notorious for his frenzied motivational speeches to Microsoft staff, admitted that he found himself in an “atypical glum mood” for weeks after leaving the company.
Down in the dumps, and with just $15 billion in Microsoft stock to his name, Ballmer cheered himself up by gorging on the entirety of The Good Wife, the award-winning US legal drama, which runs to 112 episodes, or 80 hours, in just two weeks.
Described as “the best drama on US network television”, The Good Wife stars Julianna Margulies, who won Best Actress at Monday’s Emmy awards, as Alicia Florrick, a litigator in a high-powered Chicago law firm.
Married to a scandal-ridden, Bill Clinton-style politician, Florrick navigates a torrid family life and the internal politics of her law firm.
Shortly to return for a sixth season, The Good Wife’s courtroom cases are torn from the headlines and have included NSA surveillance on the firm’s conversations and a fictional web search engine which faces a privacy lawsuit for selling the private data of its users.
The Good Wife appears to have had a rejuvenating effect on Ballmer, 58, who completed a $2 billion acquisition of the beleaguered basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ballmer has already delivered a morale-boosting address to Clippers supporters, in the style of his Microsoft keynotes, bounding on stage to Eminem’s Lose Yourself and high-fiving ecstatic fans.
Some departing bosses find the transition to an empty diary easier than others. Sir Alex Ferguson indulged his passion for golf and horse-racing after his calling time on his 27-year stint as Manchester United manager. But Sir Alex commands £100,000 for public speeches and his regular presence at matches is often seen as a distraction after his chosen successor, David Moyes, was dismissed.
When Ballmer’s former business partner Bill Gates retired as Microsoft CEO he used his free time to devour books and travel with his family. However the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation with $35 billion of assets, soon became a similarly all-consuming endeavour.