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By 5 February 2014 | Categories: news

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Microsoft has finally ended months of speculation as to who would take over the reins from Steve Ballmer, naming Satya Nadella as its new CEO.

Unlike some of the other candidates, Nadella is a Microsoft veteran, with a good 20+ years of experience at the company, and prior to the appointment, was Microsoft’s executive vice president of the company’s cloud and enterprise group.

No doubt strengthening his attractiveness for the position was the fact that Nadella had led major strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, most notably the company’s move to the cloud and the development of the cloud infrastructure that supported Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. Apparently, during his tenure overseeing Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, the division outperformed the market and took share from competitors - a factor which is always looked at favourably in the competitive tech industry.

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionised the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said upon his appointment. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly,” he added. 

First impressions

Then, in his first address to Microsoft staff, in a frank and humble letter introducing himself, Nadella defined himself as “being curious and having a thirst for learning.”

Hopefully this pursuit of the new  will spill over into his tenure at the company, with Nadella going so far as to state that he would not be satisfied with just continuing the conventions and tried and true methods of the past, but rather, intended to  chase innovation.

“Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world,” he asserted.

Endorsements from on high

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates.

“Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. 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,” he continued.

However, the new CEO appointment wasn’t the only change happening at the Redmond company. Stalwart Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the board, to be replaced by John Thompson, and will step into a more active technology advisor role within the company and apparently assist Nadella in steering a new course for the technology giant. In recent years, Gates has focused more on philanthropic interests. Interestingly, judging by Nadella’s letter to the staff, he shares this value of greater purpose and meaningful contribution with Gates.  

“I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it's not just work, but something that will improve other people's lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at this company,” he concluded. 

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