UPDATE 4 February 2014: In a release issued earlier today, Microsoft has confirmed the appointment of Satya Nadella as its new chief executive. As Satya Nadella becomes the third CEO of Microsoft, he brings a relentless drive for innovation and a spirit of collaboration to his new role. Many companies, he says, “aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance.”
News reports about the possibility of Satya Nadella taking charge of Microsoft as the next chief executive has produced mixed reaction from the industry.
Microsoft has reportedly prepared a shortlist of potential candidates being considered for the difficult job of heading the technology giant that’s trying hard to change direction.
A report by Bloomberg suggests that Satya Nadella is the most likely candidate to take up the top job.
Satya has been with Microsoft for most his career – since joining the company in 1992. The 1967-born understands Microsoft’s culture very well. This understanding is crucial while introducing change.
He has worked in different divisions of Microsoft, leading diverse projects.
Currently, Satya is executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, which builds and runs Microsoft’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. Satya and his team deliver the “Cloud OS”, Microsoft’s next generation backend platform.
His current job puts him in a position of driving growth where innovation and key account management are prerequisites of success – exactly what Microsoft needs to reinvent itself in the cloud-era where it is competing not with hardware companies, but with services companies like Amazon.com which is redefining the rules of the game.
He is a technical expert – he has a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Microsoft realises that the future is not in enterprise but in cloud-based computing, and what could be a better choice than Satya to take the company in that direction? He is the cloud-computing guy for Microsoft, a software giant that’s traditionally been a personal computing company, where enterprise software lived in computers.
He has been at the forefront of Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform which helps in building and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed datacenters around the world.
He began his career with Sun Microsystems in its technology team and later joined Microsoft as the senior vice president of research and development.
He can follow the research approach to innovation and help put Microsoft in a strong position globally as a services company.
He was born and raised in India’s technology city – Hyderabad, where Microsoft’s largest offshore research centre is based.
As the company moves away from being a software powerhouse to a services company, Satya will bring to table the required technical expertise blended with strong marketing thinking, similar in nature to late Steve Jobs of Apple Inc.
However, Satya has his challenges. In an organisation with reportedly few takes for the top job, he has a challenging culture to manage.
Microsoft is known to be a career company, where employees join after college and stay till retirement. The organisational culture will require a lot of smart-work to introduce changes.
Second, Microsoft has had only two chief executives in its 39 years of existence – founder Bill Gates, and the current CEO Steve Ballmer. Securing acceptance for his role as the third CEO, from the 100,000-strong workforce worldwide will be a major task for Satya.
If appointed as the CEO of Microsoft, Satya will join the elite club of India-born chief executives of major multinational companies, and will be in the company of Indra Nooyi who heads Pepsi, and Anshu Jain, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank.