Longtime Microsoft Executive Satya Nadella Likely To Become Software Giant’s Next CEO

Jan 31, 2014

Multiple news reports say Microsoft is likely to choose company veteran Satya Nadella its next CEO, ending a very public search that’s taken almost half a year. 

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to confirm the reports, but if Nadella does take the reins from Steve Ballmer, he’ll become only the third CEO in the company’s 39-year history.

Nadella heads Microsoft’s cloud computing division and has drawn praise as an open-minded and thoughtful leader. He told journalist Om Malik at a conference in Paris in December that big tech companies like Microsoft can’t expect past successes to guarantee relevance in the future.

"If you don’t have a real stake in the new, then just surviving on the old - even if it is about efficiency - I don’t think is a long-term game," Nadella said. 

Nadella grew up in India in the tech hub of Hyderabad, where he played cricket. He even told a local newspaper there he learned important lessons on leadership playing the sport. He went on to study electrical engineering, computer science and got an MBA.

Nadella has been with Microsoft for 22 years and worked in other parts of the company, including on the Bing search engine. He’s viewed as a conservative choice by Microsoft’s board, which also reportedly considered hiring Ford CEO and former Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Alan Mulally.