Software giant Microsoft has appointed Satya Nadella as its next chief executive.
Working with Microsoft for the last 22 years, Satya is Microsoft’s third chief executive in the company’s nearly four-decade history. Founder Bill Gates was the longest-serving head of Microsoft, who was replaced by Steve Ballmer.
The 1967-born Satya will take charge of the new role immediately and will also become a part of the Board of Directors. Satya was promoted from the position of executive vice president of 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’s claim to the top job lies in his blend of technical and people skills. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together.”
He is also expected to draw on product innovation skills in his new role. “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.”
Born and educated in India’s tech city of Hyderabad, Satya came to the US for post-graduate studies, and after a stint with Sun Microsystems, he joined Microsoft in 1992, where he led strategy and technical shifts, including Microsoft’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.
Satya is looking forward to the challenge and understands the need for speed. The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, says Satya. “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,” says Steve Ballmer, who announced on 23 August 2013 that he would retire once a successor was named.
In his first email as the chief executive, Satya expressed his emotions openly to the employees. “Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago. I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world.”
Satya has made his priorities clear – breaking the rules of the game. “Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.”
He acknowledges the role of family in his work. “A lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences.”
Being a little philosophical, Satya paraphrased Oscar Wilde: “We need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.”
A keen learner, Satya admits that he loves to buy books. “I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.”
His vision for future is of a “software-powered” world. “It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.”
Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will stay on the board as technology advisor, and will support Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director, will become the chairman.