Microsoft CEO Search May End Soon, Satya Nadella Has Big Edge


The search for the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft may end soon with the appointment of a new CEO to be announced next week. The ideal candidate sources say, is someone who is from the inside or who has been working for the company long enough to know its ins and outs. Microsoft is an intricate organization and somebody familiar with its workings like veteran executive Satya Nadella has a big advantage over somebody who still needs to learn the ropes of the software giant.

Microsoft is likely to name Nadella as the next CEO of the company when the Board of Directors will meet next week. Although no announcement has yet been made on who will be the successor of Steve Ballmer, who in August of last year announced his plans to step down, reports have it that Nadella may soon get the CEO job.

Before working for Microsoft in 1992, the Indian-born Nadella was previously connected with Sun Microsystems as a technology staff. Right now, Nadella is the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise unit. He and his team are responsible for building and implementing Microsoft’s computing platforms, cloud services and developer tools.

Prior to this position, Nadella was president of the company’s Server and Tools Business which churned out $19 billion in annual revenue. He likewise led in the unit’s transformation from client-server software to a cloud infrastructure format. Earlier roles with the software technology giant include being a senior vice president of Research and Development for the Online Services as well as vice president of Microsoft Business Division.

Nadella, 46, holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and two master’s degrees earned from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Computer Science) and from the University of Chicago (Business Administration). He is well respected in the Microsoft organization and is well regarded by Wall Street analysts.

The other development that may come out of the meeting of the Board of Directors next week is the possible appointment of the next Chairman of the Board replacing the current Chairman and co-founder Bill Gates. John W. Thompson, Microsoft’s lead director is being considered for the chairman position. Thompson is a former CEO of Symantec Corp., another software firm and a former executive of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM).

If Nadella is appointed as the next company CEO, this may indicate that the board is not too keen to deviate from what Ballmer has already started with Microsoft specifically as it relates to strategies which include the pending purchase of Nokia Corporation’s handset department.

Earlier reports also indicate that there are other two insiders being considered for the CEO position and this include the head of strategies Tony Bates and Stephen Elop. However, no clear direction has been set yet with regard to the two executive’s possible inclusion in the short list. Previously, with regard to the outsiders who may also be appointed to replace Ballmer include: Ford’s Alan Mulally, Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg and Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf. But most of these executives are no longer in contention or they themselves are not actively seeking the transfer.

Until a new CEO can be appointed, everyone at Microsoft is keenly observing the events and waiting patiently on what will happen next. According to one high-ranking executive at the company, “We aren’t doing anything but waiting…No one knows what the new CEO will want, so no one knows what to do.” And with the way things are going, the Microsoft CEO search may end soon and everyone can now take it easy.

By Roberto I. Belda


Wall Street Journal
Business Today

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