Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has been named chairman of the board of directors, in addition to retaining his role as chief executive officer (CEO).

Nadella has been CEO for the past seven years, since taking over in February 2014 from former Redmond CEO Steve Ballmer.

Under his leadership Nadella helped Microsoft reach $1 trillion (£716 billion) in value in early 2019 for the first time ever, driven mostly by the continued growth of its Azure cloud business.

Chairman of the board

Microsoft is currently worth $1.94 trillion (£1.4 trillion) as of Thursday.

For that Nadella has been handsomely rewarded, with him taking home $43 million after a 65 percent pay rise in 2019.

Microsoft is currently the second most valuable tech company in the world, behind that of Apple (currently valued at $2.19 trillion or £1.6 trillion).

Nadella is taking over the chairman seat from former Symantec CEO John Thompson, following a unanimous vote of the board, the firm said in a brief statement on the matter.

Thompson has been elected as lead independent director, a role he held previously from 2012 to 2014.

“In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review,” said Microsoft.

“As lead independent director, Thompson will retain significant authority including providing input on behalf of the independent directors on board agendas, calling meetings of the independent directors, setting agendas for executive sessions, and leading performance evaluations of the CEO,” it added.

Gates investigation

Last month it was revealed that Microsoft had hired a law firm to investigate a romantic relationship that co-founder Bill Gates had with a Microsoft employee.

Earlier in May the world had been shocked when Bill and Melinda Gates announced they were to divorce after 27 years of marriage, in what will likely be an expensive exercise for one of the world’s richest men with a personal fortune of $144 billion.

Bill Gates had in March 2020 resigned from Microsoft’s board of directors, and Gates has denied the investigation played a role in his resignation.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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