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Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

This evening, Microsoft announced that Satya Nadella, previously the Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise, will be appointed to the position of CEO. Nadella becomes only the third CEO in the company’s history. From the official press page:

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Founder and Member of the Board of Directors. “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.”

Reading down towards the bottom of the page, you can also find this interesting tidbit regarding Bill Gates’ new role at the company:

Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.

Good to hear that Gates is sticking around, particularly after Barb Darrow reported for Gigaom that several Microsoft board members “had advocated that Gates leave the board so that the new CEO wouldn’t have to deal with a founder looking over his shoulder.”

While reading the press release, I admit that outside of Nadella’s name being mentioned as a possible contender for the CEO position, I had not heard much about him. But after reading his first company-wide email as CEO, I find myself silently cheering for the guy. From the letter:

As we look forward, we must zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world. 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. […]

This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.” We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

Nadella’s words come off genuine, and they feel far more realistic and sensible than Ballmer (on paper or in person) ever appeared to be.

Finally, Microsoft has put together a (truly) beautiful micro-site that introduces the new CEO with photos, a bio, and several videos featuring Nadella himself, Gates, and Ballmer.

It is more than clear the company is very excited, and I think Microsoft fans should be too.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014