Microsoft Promotes Nadella to Replace Ballmer as CEO

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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Microsoft's long search for a new CEO is over.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant stayed in-house, selecting Satya Nadella to replace Steve Ballmer. Nadella will also have a seat on the company's board of directors.

Microsoft says Nadella, who was previously executive vice president of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, has spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, most notably Microsoft's move to the cloud and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services.

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella," said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder and member of the board of directors. “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."

“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," said Nadella, who has been with the company since 1992. “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."

Steve Ballmer announced his retirement – which becomes official today – on Aug. 23, 2013. He was CEO of the company for 13 years.

“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft. I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with the most talented employees and senior leadership team in the industry, and I know their passion and hunger for greatness will only grow stronger under Satya’s leadership," Ballmer said.

Bill Gates, who stood on the sidelines for most of the years that Ballmer was in charge, will now devote more time to the company. He will assume a new role on the board of directors as founder and technology officer, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director for the board, will assume the role of chairman.

There has been speculation that Microsoft would take this opportunity to choose someone outside the tech industry to lead it into the next generation. Ford CEO Alan Mulally was reportedly one of the finalists before the company decided on Nadella, whose long career at Microsoft made his selection anything but a surprise.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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