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Tech Giant Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella Reigns Supreme as He’s Named Chairman of the Board

Tech Giant Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella Reigns Supreme as He’s Named Chairman of the Board

  • The Indian American will replace independent director John Thompson, following a unanimous vote.

Technology giant Microsoft announced on June 16 that CEO Satya Narayana Nadella would head the company’s board as chairman, replacing independent director John Thompson, following a unanimous vote. 

CNN says “the change reflects Nadella’s success, who served as chief executive since 2014 and has helped transform the PC maker into a leader in cloud computing in recent years, resulting in blockbuster earnings and a market cap of close to $2 trillion.”

Under Nadella’s watch, Microsoft regained the title of the world’s most valuable public company. Today it stands as the second most valuable, only behind Apple, with Microsoft stock having risen more than 600 percent, as per a CNBC report.

In his new role Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review, Microsoft said in a statement. 

Microsoft’s board members gave plaudits to Nadella for his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic in the proxy statement the company filed in December, with the company delivering 14 percent revenue growth in the 2020 fiscal year, even as the company faced challenges in advertising and other markets. 

“The board credits Mr. Nadella for his tremendous progress driving cultural change across the organization, especially given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our business and our people,” Microsoft told CNBC.

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This move came a year after Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft and its first CEO, left the company’s board. Gates stepped down after the board investigated a report that Gates had tried to start an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, a company spokesperson told CNBC. The allegations surfaced just after the announcement of Gates’ divorce from his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates.

Since then, Microsoft has faced intense scrutiny over its workplace culture and grappled with the aftermath of the probe. Nadella has personally addressed the allegations against Gates, saying in an interview with CNBC last month that “the Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000. To me and to everyone at Microsoft, our focus on our culture, our diversity, our inclusion, in particular, the everyday experience of our people is super important.” 

Thompson, formerly CEO of Symantec, joined Microsoft’s board in 2012 and replaced Gates as Microsoft’s chair in 2014. Today, Nadella is one of Microsoft’s top individual shareholders, with more than 1.6 million shares of the company’s stock.

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