Hard work and perseverance yield rich rewards, and this has been proven once again as it has been announced that India-born Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, will replace John Thompson as the board chairman of the world’s largest software maker.
Saying the 53-year-old Nadella was the savior of Microsoft would not be an exaggeration. He spent seven years as the company’s CEO, taking over the position from Steve Ballmer. Thompson will continue to serve as Microsoft’s lead independent director, overseeing Nadella’s succession planning, governance, and board operations.
“In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review,” Microsoft said in a statement. The company added that Thompson would continue to retain authority on several issues, including providing input on behalf of the independent directors on board agendas, calling meetings of the independent directors, setting agendas for executive sessions, and leading performance evaluations of the CEO.
It was Nadella’s inputs on Cloud Computing and the focus on AI and the shift of Office to the cloud that did the trick for Microsoft. With Nadella at the helm, Microsoft scaled up its business, including billion-dollar acquisitions of LinkedIn, Nuance Communications, and ZeniMax. Nadella’s leadership has been nothing short of revolutionary for Microsoft, which bounced back from the inability of Windows phones to keep up with its rivals and the decrease of the popularity of its Windows operating system, to once again number among the top technology companies in the world. Its market value is just shy of the enviable $2 trillion milestone.
Incidentally, Nadella is both the third chairman of the company, after Bill Gates and John Thompson, and the third CEO as well, since Ballmer had not been made chairman.
Microsoft also declared a quarterly dividend of 56 cents per share, which would be payable on September 9.
With Nadella now at the Chairman position, we can imagine some changes to be implemented at the company. Nonetheless, this is a proud moment for every Indian.