Satya Nadella Appointed Microsoft CEO

Microsoft picks from within its own ranks to name Satya Nadella as Steve Ballmer's successor while Bill Gates steps down as chairman.

Satya Nadella

Microsoft has a new CEO and a reshuffled board of directors.

The software giant today announced that Satya Nadella has taken over as CEO from Steve Ballmer. A 22-year Microsoft veteran, Nadella steps into the top spot as the company's former head of the cloud and enterprise software.

"During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella," Microsoft co-founder Bill Bates said in a statement. "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," he added.

Big changes are also in store for Gates, Microsoft's first CEO and longtime chairman of the board. Gates, who last fall faced calls to step down as chairman, is assuming the role of technology advisor and has given up the chairman's position to John Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments. The move will allow Gates to "devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction," said the company in a statement.

Meanwhile, Nadella is gearing up to lead the 38-year-old technology company as its third CEO. Paraphrasing a quote from Oscar Wilde, Nadella said in an email to staffers that Microsoft needs to "believe in the impossible and remove the improbable."

"We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to 'do more,'" said Nadella, citing the "high-value activities" that anchor the company's new One Microsoft strategy. "And with every service and device launch going forward, we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios," he added.

Offering his personal congratulations, Cisco CEO John Chambers issued a statement saying that Nadella "will do a great job for Microsoft as he is a seasoned, world-class technology leader. I trust him, and I know he instills trust in his customers and partners."

Steve Ballmer, who announced his impending retirement from the company Aug. 23, said in a company email that Nadella "has a remarkable ability to see what's going on in the market, to sense opportunity, and to really understand how we come together at Microsoft to execute against those opportunities in a collaborative way."

Ballmer also reflected on his tenure as the company's leader. Calling Microsoft "one of the great companies in the world," Ballmer expressed his love for "the spirit of this place, the passion, and the perseverance, which has been the cornerstone of our culture from the very beginning."

"Thanks for making Microsoft the most amazing place to work on the planet, and thanks for the chance to lead," concluded Ballmer.

Ultimately, Nadella beat out several high-profile business leaders for the influential position. In January, after months of speculation, Alan Mulally, CEO of automaker Ford, officially bowed out of the running. Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, and Tony Bates, former CEO of Skype, were reported also to be under consideration for the top spot at Microsoft.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...