'Most likely' to take over as CEO of world's biggest software company
INDIAN- born tech wizard Satya Nadella, 46, is tipped to take over as the next Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, the world's largest software company. Business portal Bloomberg was the first to report the news on Thursday.
On Friday, Reuters quoted a source privy to the matter saying Microsoft's five- month search for a tech- savvy CEO could culminate in the selection of Nadella, the head of cloud computing at the software giant.
Nadella's selection would make him the most powerful Indianborn tech executive in the world.
He would also be only the third CEO of Microsoft, listed as the world's second- most valuable brand by Forbes , in its 38- year history after co- founder Bill Gates and incumbent Steve Ballmer.
Quoting the company source, Reuters said as part of the move, Gates may step aside as chairman and be replaced by lead independent director John Thompson. Gates would remain a director. If Nadella is named CEO, it is likely Thompson will help out on the crucial task of managing Microsoft's relations with its powerful Wall Street investors, the source said. Nadella has little experience of that aspect of the job, and Ballmer and Gates did not prioritise it, the source added.
A rising star in the world of technology, Nadella was born in Hyderabad in 1967. He did his schooling from Hyderabad Public School at Begumpet before getting a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University. For the next part of his education, Nadella flew to the US, where he got a master's in computer science from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and then an MBA from University of Chicago.
He joined Microsoft in 1992 and quickly climbed the corporate ladder with leading roles in the Office and Bing search- engine teams.
In July last year, Nadella was promoted to run the Microsoft's fast- expanding cloud computing initiatives as part of CEO Ballmer's radical re- organisation of the company. He currently holds the official title of executive vice- president, cloud and enterprise.
According to a report in the New York Times , Nadella has emerged as a popular choice for the CEO's post as he has a deeper engineering background than several of the other candidates.
He has the vote of approval of a number of advocates for change at Microsoft who believe the company's leader needs to have stronger technical expertise than Ballmer, who has a background in sales.
In addition to Nadella, Microsoft has interviewed Kevin Turner, its top sales executive, and Tony Bates, who joined Microsoft through its acquisition of Skype. Stephen Elop, the former chief executive of Nokia who said he would rejoin Microsoft once its purchase of the Finnish company's mobile business was complete, has also been considered.
Ballmer, who plans to retire as soon as a new CEO is named, was reelected to the board in November, but it is not clear how long he will remain there after retirement, the company source said, adding that the board still has not met to finalise Nadella's offer and nothing has been signed. Microsoft declined to comment. The NYT report said the announcement confirming Ballmer's successor is only expected next week.
Some investors had campaigned for an external CEO who might be more likely to shake up the company and reward shareholders with greater dividends and share buybacks. However, Sid Parakh, an analyst at Seattle- based fund firm McAdams Wright Ragen, said this did not mean Nadella would be unpopular with Wall Street.
" He's a solid choice, offering continuity of strategy and proven execution," Parakh added.
Microsoft shares rose 0.8 per cent to $ 37.15 after hours, after gaining slightly in regular Nasdaq trading.
( With Reuters inputs)