Microsoft has made official that its new CEO, replacing Steve Ballmer, is Satya Nadella. Nadella has spent 22 years at Microsoft, and was previously Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise. Nadella also takes a position on Microsoft’s Board of Directors, and founder Bill Gates will increase his involvement in the company.
As Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group chief, Nadella oversees the company’s server software and back-end technology for corporate customers. He also is in charge of several consumer cloud products, including Office 365, as well as the Bing search engine, Xbox Live and Skype. Prior to joining Microsoft, Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems, which is now owned by Oracle.
Who is Satya Nadella?
- He was born in Hyderabad, India. And moved to the U.S. after graduating from Manipal University. That an immigrant will run this most American of companies is an inspiring story in itself.
- He’s a longtime Microsoft insider. Nadella joined the company in 1992 from onetime Silicon Valley icon Sun Microsystems; he’s been a Microsoftie for well over half the company’s existence.
- He’s an engineer. Unlike Steve Ballmer, who was an assistant product manager at Procter & Gamble before joining Microsoft in 1980, Nadella started out as a technologist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Manipal University and a master’s in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
- But also a business type. In addition to his technology-oriented degrees, he has a master’s in business administration from the University of Chicago.
- He’s been promoted again and again. Among his other high-level positions before he was appointed executive vice president for the cloud and enterprise group last year: president of the server and tools business, senior VP of R&D for the online-services division, VP of the business division, senior VP of search, portal and advertising-platform group, VP of development for the business-solutions group, and general manager of consumer and commerce.
- He’s currently responsible for a huge, largely invisible part of Microsoft’s business. Among the products Nadella heads up: Windows Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center and the software-development tools that are Microsoft’s original business, dating all the way back to 1975. Consumers have no reason to pay attention to these areas, but they’re thriving — a big reason why Microsoft just posted robust quarterly results despite the PC industry’s struggles and Windows Phone’s failure, so far, to make much of a dent in Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Alongside the news of Nadella’s appointment, Microsoft also announced that founder and former CEO Bill Gates will be joining as “Founder and Technology Advisor,” a role that will see him take a more active hand in product development. The move seems designed to offset any perception of Nadella’s inexperience on the hardware side, and indeed, the team should be a formidable one if Gates is really going to be spending more time off the bench. Gates will apparently spend 30 percent of his time at Microsoft under the new arrangement.