Satya Nadella will soon be the third CEO to lead Microsoft, Bloomberg reported Jan. 31, citing people with knowledge of a process that has been under way since August, when current CEO Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire.
Nadella is currently executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group—its most profitable group—responsible for building up and running the company's computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. It's Nadella's group that has led Microsoft's transition from being a software maker to a player controlling a full ecosystem, with hardware, software and clouds full of services.
Nadella, 46, has been with Microsoft for 22 years.
Last month, it was reported that Nadella and Ford CEO Alan Mulally had been moved to the top of a list said to include Tony Bates, the former Skype CEO, now tasked with evangelism at Microsoft; Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg; and Stephen Elop, who left Microsoft in 2010 to take the CEO role at Nokia and in 2013 negotiated the sale of Nokia's mobile phone business to Microsoft, where he's now executive vice president of Devices and Services.
In early January, Mulally told the Associated Press that he'd assured Ford's investors that they need not worry about him leaving.
According to Re/Code's Kara Swisher, Microsoft's board hasn't yet voted on the matter.
Multiple sources report that Nadella would the conservative choice, as the learning curve for a company outsider would be considerable and Nadella is tied to Microsoft's rising star.
"The choice of Mr. Nadella would show the board believes the company is better off with an insider in the top job and suggest that the board isn't considering major breaks with Mr. Ballmer's strategy, including the pending acquisition of Nokia Corp.'s handset unit," the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 30.
According to the Bloomberg report, Microsoft's board is also considering tapping independent director John Thompson to replace former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates as chairman of the board.
On Jan. 24, Microsoft announced the results of its fiscal 2013 second quarter, during which it delivered record revenue and its devices and consumer revenue grew by 13 percent.
"Our commercial cloud services revenue grew more than 100 percent year-over-year, as customers are embracing Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM Online, and making long-term commitments to the Microsoft platform," Microsoft COO Kevin Turner said during the earnings call.
"The investments we are making in devices and services that deliver high-value experiences to our customers and the work we are doing with our partners," added Ballmer, "are driving strong results and positioning us well for long-term growth."