“Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.”
— Satya Nadella, in an email to Microsoft employees on his first day as CEO. The company announced today that Nadella, 46, and a 22-year veteran of Microsoft, is the successor to longtime Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Ballmer said last year that he would retire after his replacement was found.
Nadella, who was most recently in charge of cloud computing and enterprise, said in the email that “this is a software-powered world.” And in keeping with de-emphasizing Microsoft’s past — it’s no longer the first company people mention when talking software, much less the mobile revolution — he also said “the opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things.”
Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman and will become technology adviser, “supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction,” according to the press release. As Troy Wolverton wrote, Gates — who has most recently focused on philanthropy — had been expected to take on a more involved role in the company he co-founded during this leadership change. Gates was a hands-off chairman when Ballmer was CEO.
John Thompson, the former CEO of Symantec who has been lead independent director at Microsoft, becomes chairman. Thompson was in charge of the long CEO search — other rumored CEO candidates included Google executive Sundar Pichai, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly and Nokia’s Stephen Elop.
Microsoft shares are up about 0.5 percent to $36.67 as of this post.
Photo: Satya Nadella, then executive vice president of cloud and enterprise, addresses employees during the One Microsoft Town Hall event July 11, 2013. (Microsoft)