After a five-month search, Microsoft has named Satya Nadella its new CEO.
He’s the third CEO in the company’s history.
Nadella, 46, is the executive vice president in charge of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, a fast-growing and lucrative division of the company. He’s been a Microsoft employee for over 20 years and has worked as a VP in the company’s business and online services divisions.
It’s not a big surprise Microsoft’s board picked Nadella. Last week, several reports began trickling out that Microsoft had chosen him. The company’s board reportedly made its final vote over the weekend, only taking a break to watch the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl.
Bill Gates will step down as Microsoft’s chairman and serve as a “technology advisor” for new consumer products. John Thompson, who was the independent director for the board of directors, is Microsoft’s new chairman.
Microsoft began looking for a new CEO in August when Steve Ballmer announced he’d retire within a year or as soon as the board could find a replacement. Ballmer’s decision to retire was a surprise, as he had previously said he didn’t plan to do it until all his kids were in college, which wouldn’t have been until 2017 at the earliest. Ballmer stepped down as CEO today and Nadella will begin his new job immediately.
The board reportedly considered a few outside hires for the job, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally. It’s likely that the board’s decision to pick an internal candidate means it wants the company to continue its course. Right now, Microsoft is still struggling to catch up with the consumer shift to mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets. Its newest operating system, Windows 8, is hybrid software designed to work on regular desktop or laptop computers plus touchscreen devices like tablets. But Windows 8 got a lukewarm reception, and Microsoft is now working on updates to make it easier to use on traditional computers. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s other businesses like Office and Xbox are doing pretty well.
If Microsoft’s board had landed on an outside hire, that would’ve been a sign that the company wanted to change its direction and possibly focus on the growing parts of its business like enterprise software.
More on Nadella:
- Satya Nadella’s first letter to Microsoft employees >>
- The first interview with Satya Nadella >>
- Steve Ballmer welcomes Satya Nadella >>
- Bill Gates welcomes Satya Nadella >>
- Why Microsoft chose Satya Nadella instead of looking for new blood >>
Here’s the full announcement from Microsoft:
Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Satya Nadella as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Nadella previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.
“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Founder and Member of the Board of Directors. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”
Since joining the company in 1992, Nadella has spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, most notably the company’s move to the cloud and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. During his tenure overseeing Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, the division outperformed the market and took share from competitors.
“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionised the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”
“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft,” said Steve Ballmer, who announced on Aug. 23, 2013 that he would retire once a successor was named. “I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with the most talented employees and senior leadership team in the industry, and I know their passion and hunger for greatness will only grow stronger under Satya’s leadership.”
Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director for the Board of Directors, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors and remain an independent director on the Board.
“Satya is clearly the best person to lead Microsoft, and he has the unanimous support of our Board,” Thompson said. “The Board took the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expected and deserved.”
With the addition of Nadella, Microsoft’s Board of Directors consists of Ballmer; Dina Dublon, former Chief Financial Officer of JPMorgan Chase; Gates; Maria M. Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College; Stephen J. Luczo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Seagate Technology PLC; David F. Marquardt, General Partner at August Capital; Nadella; Charles H. Noski, former Vice Chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG; and Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Instruments. Seven of the 10 board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.