Following the announcement last August that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was out the door as soon as the company could find a new captain to lead the ship, the Board finally announced today that it has found its guy: Satya Nadella.

As part of the changes, founder and former CEO Bill Gates has agreed to step down from the Board and into a new role as ‘technology advisor’. Gates says he will step up his time at the company meeting with various groups and helping with future products at the request of Nadella.

But who is Satya Nadella? He may not be a household name just yet, but just like his predecessors, that will surely change as he leads the company behind Windows, Office, and the XBOX.

Most recently, Nadella served as Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Microsoft’s move of picking someone with a server background and services expertise could indicate a move from consumer products in the future. At the very least, the choice could reassure spectators that it has its head in the ‘cloud’ as our data gradually moves more and more from local drives to cloud-based services.

Passing the torch immediately, Microsoft has shared the email departing CEO Ballmer sent to Microsoft employees discussing the change.

Satya is a proven leader. He’s got strong technical skills and great business insights. He 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.

If that’s not touching enough, watch Ballmer speak on Satya himself:

Microsoft has also shared Satya Nadella’s email to the company.

Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can’t ask for a better foundation. Let’s build on this foundation together.

And his successor has discussed his new position as well:

And finally, Bill Gates himself discussing the announcement:

Full press release below:

Microsoft Board names Satya Nadella as CEO

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 4, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Satya Nadella as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Nadella previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.

“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.”

Since joining the company in 1992, Nadella has spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, most notably the company’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 his tenure overseeing Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, the division outperformed the market and took share from competitors.

“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,” Nadella said. “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.”

“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft,” said Steve Ballmer, who announced on Aug. 23, 2013 that he would retire once a successor was named. “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.”

Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director for the Board of Directors, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors and remain an independent director on the Board.

“Satya is clearly the best person to lead Microsoft, and he has the unanimous support of our Board,” Thompson said. “The Board took the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expected and deserved.”

With the addition of Nadella, Microsoft’s Board of Directors consists of Ballmer; Dina Dublon, former Chief Financial Officer of JPMorgan Chase; Gates; Maria M. Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College; Stephen J. Luczo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Seagate Technology PLC; David F. Marquardt, General Partner at August Capital; Nadella; Charles H. Noski, former Vice Chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG; and Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Instruments. Seven of the 10 board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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6 Responses to “Microsoft names Satya Nadella CEO as Bill Gates demoted from Chairman to ‘Technology Advisor’”

  1. PMZanetti says:

    I like how Office is mentioned as one of the “Top 3 Things” Microsoft ‘does’….and there is STILL no iPad version.

    Not that it matters. It will never be anywhere near as good as iWork, and its totally unnecessary for users….but for Microsoft’s business sake, they missed the boat big time.

  2. the most important line of the Gates video (beyond the fact that he is still there at all), is where he refers to the near future by saying there are “mobile *challenges,* and cloud *opportunities*” He might as well have just said “we are struggling in mobile so we might just focus on the cloud if nothing else happens soon.”

    The way I read the transition, Satya wouldn’t take the job with Bill Gates overseeing his every move on the board so a compromise is reached wherein Bill leaves the board for one last shot at avoiding the obvious (rolling up their consumer business entirely and focussing on the cloud and enterprise), in his new role as “tech advisor.” This assuages Satya in that Gates is technically “under” him, instead of over him as he was on the board.

    So at least a full year will pass while nothing at all will really seem to happen. They will take one last shot at Apple and mobile supremacy with Bill Gates leading the charge, and only a year or so from now when it all fails, will they finally do the right thing and step back from the breach altogether, focus on their server strategy and leave the innovation to Apple.

  3. What is up with these stupid ear piece mice? You look moronic wearing these things. And the same with that wacko from TMobile. Stop it.