Software giant Microsoft on February 4 named Indian-born Satya Nadella its CEO. Shri Nadella (46) will succeed Steve Ballmer, who had announced his intention to retire in last August, and bacome the third CEO of the company in its 39-year history. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together,” co-founder Bill Gates said in a statement announcing the appointment. “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,” Gates added.
Shri Nadella has been called a “safe choice”, rather than someone who would overhaul the company which, according to many, was needed for it to catch up with rivals Google and Apple.
Born in 1969 and raised in Hyderabad, Nadella studied at the Manipal Institute of Technology in India and Stanford and Wharton in the US. He joined Microsoft in 1992, and led major projects including the company’s move to the cloud and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.
During his tenure overseeing Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, the division outperformed the market and took share from competitors. Apart from being shaped by his family and his experiences, Nadella said in his email to Microsoft employees, “I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning”. “I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things.”
The news of Nadella taking over as CEO of Microsoft called for a celebration, particularly in his hometown Hyderabad. “I am honoured, humbled and excited,” Nadella said on his elevation to a news-channel in the US. Some key members of the IT industry too expressed their delight on Nadella’s achievement. “I am very happy that an Indian will head one the world’s most impactful software companies. I extend my heartiest congratulations to him and wish he is even more successful because Microsoft needs it, India needs it and the world needs it,” said NR Narayana Murthy, executive chairman of Infosys. Extending his wishes to Nadella, S (Kris) Gopalakrishnan, executive vice-chairman, Infosys said, “I am confident Microsoft will scale to new heights under him.”