Current head of Microsoft’s cloud computing division and enterprise business apparently set to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO
The long-running saga of Microsoft’s new CEO appears to be entering the final straight, with reports claiming that the company is now close to appointing Satya Nadella to the role.
Currently executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, Nadella has been with the company for 22 years, having joined from Sun Microsystems in 1992. He has previously worked in Microsoft’s cloud services, server software, and internet search divisions, and was credited with migrating Microsoft’s database, Windows server and developer tools to its Azure cloud service.
As part of the move, iconic Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could be set to step aside as chairman and be replaced by lead independent director John Thompson. However, Gates would remain a director at the company he began in 1975.
Born in Hyderabad, India, the site of Microsoft’s largest overseas research centre, Nadella moved to the US to study before joining Sun’s technology team. He holds a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Chicago.
Microsoft has been looking for a new CEO since current incumbent Steve Ballmer announced he would be stepping down last August, having led the company for the past thirteen years, setting a 12-month deadline for his departure. In a statement, he said, “We need a chief executive who will be here longer term for this new direction,” referring to the company’s “One Microsoft” strategy, which kicked off a massive corporate reorganisation in July.
That reorganisation saw Nadella promoted to run Microsoft’s fast-expanding cloud, or internet-based, computing initiatives, with the commercial cloud services division reporting 107 percent growth in revenue from a year ago, showing his ability to perform in a leading role.
Several high-profile names have been linked to the CEO position, including Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf, Ford’s Alan Mullaly, Nokia’s Stephen Elop, and Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg. However the search has reportedly been affected by a level of interference from both Ballmer and Gates, with their presence on the board (together they own around 8 percent of the company) apparently putting off several candidates. An internal candidate such as Nadella would offer several advantages over an external one, as he would already be familiar with the company’s processes, and has already worked in a number of different areas at Microsoft.
However Nadella does not appear to have much familiarity with the Windows Phone and Xbox gaming divisions, areas which have become key focuses for the company as they seek to maintain a leading position across the technology industry. Microsoft’s smartphone offerings in particular are set to be a central part of the company’s strategy in the coming months, with its purchase of Nokia’s handset division due to be completed soon.
Microsoft is yet to comment on the news.
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