The board of Microsoft Corp is planning to make the company’s chief enterprise and cloud chief, Satya Nadella, the new chief executive officer and is also planning to replace Bill Gates as chairman, as reported by people who seem to have close knowledge of the process. As the process is said to be private, these individuals have asked not to be identified and have also informed that one person that is being considered by the board for replacing the co-founder of the company Gates as chairman is John Thompson, who is the lead independent director of the company. Two people who are familiar with this matter said that even if Gates steps down as chairman, he would still play an active role in the company, especially in areas such as product development.
People who have been familiar with the search of new CEO of Microsoft after Steve Ballmer’s departure said that Nadella, 46, came as one of the stronger candidates. However, it is said that the plans haven’t been finalized as yet. It is at a crucial point that these leadership changes are being made because Microsoft is shifting away from its roots as a software maker to the provision of Internet-based and hardware services. The technology landscape has been shifted away to mobile devices by rivals such as Apple Inc. instead of the mainstay of personal computers of Microsoft.
Last year, Ballmer, who declared that he would be retiring by August, had revamped the organizational structure of the company and had agreed to purchase the handset business of Nokia for a price of $7.2 billion. In the past decade, there has been a 74% gain seen in Microsoft’s stock, which also includes dividends. In its history, the company has only had two CEOs; Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. If the company choses to appoint Nadella for this position, they would be opting for an enterprise-technology veteran who became a part of the company I 1992 and has held a leadership role in business applications, internet search, server software and cloud services.
Nadella was also the president of the server business of the company and had given the revenue a boost of up to $20.3 billion in the fiscal year through June, which was a rise from the $16.6 billion revenue of the business in 2011 when he had taken over. When Microsoft’s structure had been overhauled by Ballmer, the unit had become cloud and enterprise. According to some people, Nadella would prove to be a good choice for the company because of his strong reputation and close ties within the huge engineering corps of the company.
But, analysts have said that if Gates chooses to vacate the position of chairman, it would prove to be a bigger shift for the company as he has been chairman of the company since 1981. If an insider CEO is chosen by the company, then it means that the company would have to choose an outside chairman as the investors have to be given a bone.