After rumors made the rounds late last week that Satya Nadella had become the front runner for Microsoft's next CEO, this morning, the company made it official. But that wasn't the only change they'd be making.
Nadella is taking over immediately, becoming only the third CEO in the company's history following Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. The 46-year-old Nadella has been with the company for almost two decades, having joined after leaving competitor, Sun Microsystems. "I'm thrilled that Satya has asked me to step up, substantially increasing my time at the company," Gates says in a video congratulating Nadella on the position. "I'll have over a third of my time available to meet with product groups and it'll be fun to define this next round of products working together." He's been the president of Microsoft's Cloud division, bumped up the company's revenue from $6.6 billion to $20.3 billion in just two years, and will now lead the company into one of its biggest transitional periods yet: readying to take on Nokia's cellphone division which they purchased last year, and preparing to move on without Gates as chairman.
Microsoft announced Gates stepped down from his position as chairman, a role he's held since 1981, and will now move on as "Founder and Tech Advisor," which will allow him to be more hands-on with product development. Microsoft considers this a move up from his position as chairman, and he'll now be expected to come into the Redmond, WA, offices at least one day a week. Instead of spending time on administrative duties, Gates will now be helping Nadella focus on the products and services Microsoft is developing. Company board members have voiced their concerns about Gates after the company co-founder spent a majority of his energy focusing on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The board felt they needed a chairman who would be completely involved in the company, and have named John W. Thompson as Gates' replacement. Thompson was Microsoft's lead independent director, and originally worked for IBM before joining the company in 1999.
The announcement ends months of speculation after Ballmer announced he'd be retiring after a decade run as CEO.