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Microsoft names Satya Nadella as CEO, Gates steps down as Chairman

updated 09:47 am EST, Tue February 4, 2014

Gates to help support Nadella in new role, devote more time to Microsoft

Microsoft has announced its new Chief Executive Officer is Satya Nadella, the head of cloud computing at the company. At the same time, Bill Gates will be stepping down as Chairman of the Board of Directors to become Founder and Technology Advisor, in order to help support Nadella in his new role, and is being replaced by new Chairman John Thompson.

An appointment reported late last week as a rumor, Nadella was previously a member of the technology staff at Sun Microsystems, before joining Microsoft in 1992. After becoming senior vice president of R&D for the Online Services Division, followed by vice president of Microsoft Business, he was appointed president of Microsoft's Server and Tools business and moved the company from client-server services to a cloud-based infrastructure. He holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from India's Manipal University.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

"During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella," said Gates. Continuing "Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision, and the ability to bring people together." He goes on to claim Nadella's vision for the use of technology "is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth." Gates will be "substantially increasing" the amount of time he spends at the company, with a third of his time set to meet and get involved with the various product groups at the company.

"Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft," advised outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. In an e-mail to employees, Ballmer calls Nadella a "proven leader" with "strong technical skills" and "great business insights." In thanking the employees for allowing him the "chance to lead," Ballmer declares Microsoft to be "one of the great companies in the world. I love this company."

New Chairman Thompson called Nadella "clearly the best person to lead Microsoft, and he has the unanimous support of our board." A former CEO of Symantec, Thompson will not only be taking over the position as Chairman, but he will also retain his role as lead independent director of the Microsoft Board.

Nadella has a considerable amount of work ahead of him in his new job, as the organization moves into becoming a "services and devices" company. In an internal e-mail published by the company, Nadella welcomes Nokia's Devices and Services division to the company, though the deal has yet to complete, and asks employees to "zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world," as well as writing about connected devices, cloud computing, and machine learning. "This is a software-powered world."

The new CEO has received a more favorable start than he could have had, according to the company's latest financial results. Revenues of $24.52 billion for the fourth quarter exceeded estimates by more than a billion dollars, with a net income of $6.56 billion, with strong figures also appearing elsewhere in the business.

by MacNN Staff



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