Microsoft’s search for a new CEO is over. Satya Nadella, who was formerly the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, will replace Steve Ballmer immediately, the company said today.
Nadella, who’s been at the company for 22 years, was one of a number of candidates Microsoft interviewed for the role, according to reports, and company founder Bill Gates said “there is no better person to lead Microsoft.”
“There is no better person to lead Microsoft.”
“Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together,” Gates added. “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.”
Nadella steps into the role of CEO as Microsoft struggles to regain relevance in a technology world increasingly ruled by smartphones and tablets. Windows still dominates the shrinking PC market, but the latest version of Microsoft’s OS has been widely perceived as a flop. Meanwhile, the company’s phones and tablets struggle to compete in a world dominated by iOS- and Android-powered devices.
Will Nadella be the right person to steer Microsoft through these technological sea changes? After joining Microsoft in 1992, he became responsible for a number of the company’s major strategy and technical shifts — most notably its move to cloud services and the cloud infrastructure that supports Bing, Xbox and Office. Nadella also led Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business.
“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said in Microsoft’s press release. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform.”
“I couldn’t be more honored.”
Part of Nadella’s role as Microsoft CEO will be to “accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.” To help him do that, Nadella has appointed Gates, who will step down as chairman of the board, as Microsoft’s founder and technology adviser.
In his new role, Gates will devote more time to the company he set up in the mid-’70s. “I’ll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups and it’ll be fun to define this next round of products working together,” Gates said in a video interview Microsoft published today.
Nadella’s appointment allows outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire. Ballmer announced his decision to step down last August after 13 years as the company’s chief executive, but he agreed to stick around until a suitable successor was found. Speaking about Nadella, Ballmer said, “Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft.”
Nadella becomes CEO on the eve of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s hardware business, which will undoubtedly see the company expand its focus on devices.