Microsoft has just announced an end to its official search for a brand new CEO. Frontrunner, Satya Nadella has been chosen for the position and will start his new job immediately.
Nadella is a Microsoft veteran having been with the company for over 20 years. He joined the company back in 1992 after a short run at Sun Microsystems. At Microsoft he has acted as a senior VP for R&D in the company's Online Services Division as well as a VP of the Business Division. Later on he became the president of Microsoft's Server and Tool business, where he transformed Microsoft into a first class player in the Cloud service market. The Cloud Services Division inside the company saw its revenue soar from $16 billion, in 2011 when he took over to $20.3 billion last year.
Bill Gates, the company's founder commented:
During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella, 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.
Nadella himself had this to say:
Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company. 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.”
Many believe his technical know-how and long-term role inside the company have made him a very good candidate for this position. He is also seen as a safe bet, with no radical restructuring or massive change of direction being planned in the near future. Rather, he will oversee Microsoft's transition to a devices and services company, as well as the close integration of their product portfolio, the "One Microsoft" plan set in motion by ex-CEO Steve Ballmer.
However, there's a big question looming over his appointment as to whether he'll actually be able to lead Microsoft through their current transition and be enough of a visionary to take the company into the new mobile devices age. Critics point to Nadella's inexperience at managing consumer-facing products as well as lack of experience in dealing with investors.
In this regard Bill Gates, the company's founder, has stepped down from Microsoft's board and be much more involved with Nadella and the day to day operations at the company. Gates is now an official Technology Advisor for the company, while his formed role of Chairman has been taken over by John Thompson.
So far Microsoft has been severely lagging in certain markets, such as the mobile devices and services, and it will be up to Nadella to turn this around.
There will also be a webcast from the company on this announcement at 12:00 PT for more info.