Satya Nadella strongly tipped as Microsoft’s next CEO and chairman

31 Jan 2014

Satya Nadella, executive vice-president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, at LeWeb 2013

Microsoft’s enterprise and cloud kingpin Satya Nadella is now considered the favourite to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of the software giant, and may also replace co-founder Bill Gates as chairman of the company.

As well as cloud and enterprise, Nadella has a strategic insight into Microsoft’s search and advertising businesses – critical assets as Microsoft embraces a vast cloud-based, multi-device environment smugly termed the post-PC world by Microsoft’s detractors.

While the board hasn’t made its final decision, various executives, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, have been named as in the running.

The consensus in the industry is that Microsoft is likely to choose an insider with an in-depth knowledge of its products and the vigour and vision to navigate with confidence the choppy waters of the post-PC world.

Nadella (47) is a 22-year Microsoft veteran who now runs one of Microsoft’s prime financial engines – its corporate servers and software division – which accounts for US$20bn of Microsoft’s annual US$78bn revenues.

Evidence of his flexible mindset has been seen in his mastery of the corporate software and server world, as well as his direction of engineering operations at Microsoft’s Bing search engine unit.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years