Microsoft's CEO search is finally over: Satya Nadella is the new Microsoft CEO starting today.
Nadella, who until yesterday served as Microsoft's executive vice-president of the Cloud and Enterprise group, is not a widely known name across tech media even though he has been at Microsoft for over 22 years. So who is he? His contributions and what he could bring to Microsoft's future are huge. We've compiled information about Nadella to give you a breakdown.
Extensive education and Sun roots
Nadella, 47, was born in Hyderabad, India, gaining a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University. He then went to the United States to take a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin and then to the University of Chicago for a master's degree in business administration.
Following his extensive education, Nadella went to Sun Microsystems where he was a member of the technology staff. He left Sun in 1992 to join Microsoft and quickly rose through the ranks, growing Microsoft's internet ventures along the way.
Bing and to the cloud
Nadella held the position of senior vice-president of R&D for the online services division and vice-president of the business division at Microsoft. There he worked to grow Bing into the search engine it is now. While Bing hasn't overtaken Google, Nadella helped it get off the ground considerably, forming key partnerships with brands, Yahoo, advertisers and others.
He was then made president of Microsoft’s $19 billion server and tools business and led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services.
He has been credited for bringing Microsoft's database, Windows server and developer tools, and Azure cloud to the level they are now, ultimately being a very profitable move for Microsoft.
Then Nadella was executive vice-president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms, developer tools, and cloud services. The cloud business for Microsoft is said to be an important one for years to come, including bringing Office to the cloud through Microsoft's Office 365 - a growing product for the company.
The revenue from cloud services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011.
"Cloud is perhaps the most secular growth engine out there because it scales with a number of devices, it scales with a number of apps, so it scales with the users and their devices and their apps," Nadella said in a recent interview with Gigaom. "So that means all of those things are calling back home, they need more compute, they need more storage, and so therefore, cloud is the one thing you can bet on. . . is that there is going to be more cloud. Just because you can imagine all of those other things exploring."
Until taking up his new role, Nadella was leading the next charge of Microsoft products, as Windows and PC sales slowed. Thus, Microsoft has been going for the "less sexy" parts of business, like enterprise software, cloud, servers and developers tools, set to generate more profit as time passes.
"We significantly outpaced enterprise IT spend as we continue to take share from our competitors by delivering the devices and services our customers need as they transition to the cloud," Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft, said in an earnings statement in January. "Our commercial cloud services revenue grew more than 100 per cent year-over-year, as customers are embracing Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online, and making long-term commitments to the Microsoft platform."
Nadella has 22 years of experience with the inner-workings of Microsoft, serving under both Bill Gates and Ballmer, the only two CEOs the company has had in its 38-year history. He has built and managed growing sectors at Microsoft, he's personable and funny in interviews unlike Ballmer who is usually loud and, according to Bloomberg, he is diplomatic within the company.
Nadella's thoughts on being CEO
"Our industry does not respect tradition - it only respects innovation," he says. "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must move faster, focus and continue to transform. I see a big part of my job as accelerating our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.
"Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionised the world through technology, and I couldn't be more honoured to have been chosen to lead the company."
A more vocal CFO and new chairman
CNET mades a great point that as Nadella is appointed CEO, chief financial officer Amy Hood is likely to play a much larger role at the company.
"We believe the combination of Mr Nadella and Ms Hood could be a recipe for successfully managing Microsoft's transition to a 'devices & services' company and, ultimately, driving better shareholder value," said Barclay Capital's Raimo Lenschow.
Nomura analyst and long time Microsoft watcher Rick Sherlund added: "We think new CFO Amy Hood is very operationally focused, very bright and capable of managing costs and taking steps along with Mr Nadella to both fix the business and enhance shareholder value."
When Bloomberg reported on Nadella being the next CEO, it also mentioned that the board might remove founder Bill Gates from his position of chairman. Gates would still have an active role in the company, offering guidance, but the board is said to want a change-up across the company to bring a fresh new perspective to the table.
Board member John Thompson has been named as the replacement to Bill Gates with Gates moving into a tech advisor position.
What Nadella plans to do at Microsoft
In an letter to all Microsoft employees Nadella writes:
"What do we do next?
"To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde - we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.
"This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritise innovation that is centred on our core value of empowering users and organisations 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.
"Next, every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.
"Finally, 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.
"Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can't ask for a better foundation.
"Let's build on this foundation together."
Is Nadella the right man for the job?
"Relevance comes with innovation and marketplace success," Nadella said an in October interview with The Wall Street Journal. "The marketplace will speak so loudly and so clearly that it will not be ambiguous."
Nadella will have a big task on his hands in putting Microsoft back at full pace. He'll have the Nokia handset unit to grow and make Windows Phone a serious contender, continue growing the Xbox unit's place in the living room, keep refining Windows 8 and Windows 9 to make attractive to customers, and grow the cloud services and enterprise business.
Do you think Nadella is the right man for the job?