Microsoft Picks Asian-Born CEO

Albert Lin, DiversityInc, February 12, 2014

On Tuesday, Microsoft named Satya Nadella as its new CEO, effective immediately. Nadella, who previously was Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise, becomes the tech giant’s third chief executive after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement last August.

A native of Hyderabad, India, Nadella, 46, is the ninth Asian CEO among Fortune 500 companies (1.8 percent) and the fourth among DiversityInc Top 50 companies (8 percent). Microsoft is No. 44 in the DiversityInc Top 50.

Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Gates. “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.”

As part of the management changes, Gates resigned his position as Chairman to become Founder and Technology Advisor—Nadella asked him to become more involved with the company—while retaining a seat on the board. Replacing Gates as Chairman is John Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and former Chairman and CEO of Symantec. Thompson, who is Black, becomes one of the few non-white-male chairmen of a Fortune 500 company; a study by the Alliance for Board Diversity found that, as of 2012, 92.7 percent of Fortune 500 board chairs were white men.

JohnThompson

John Thompson

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