After former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his intention to retire, there was a lot of speculation regarding potential candidates, with then Nokia head and former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop leading the succession list. So it was a little surprising to find out that Satya Nadella was chosen to lead the company instead. But since his appointment as CEO, many would argue that Microsoft took a sharp turn in the right direction thanks to him.
Under Nadella, Microsoft introduced a new business initiative focusing on transforming the company into one that adheres to the mobile and cloud-centric world that we live in. The software giant embraced the fact that it was late to the mobile game but that it wasn’t too late to get its excellent services into the hands of more customers. And if that meant making those services available on competing platforms then so be it, Nadella’s Microsoft stopped looking at other platforms like they were impenetrable brick walls that stood between it and potential customers.
“Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation.” – Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella isn’t new to Microsoft, he’s been at the company for 22 years and served as an executive of numerous divisions throughout his time at the company. His leadership of the company’s Server and Tools division generated double-digit billions of dollars in revenue. Remember when Windows Live Search ceased to exist and the fresh new Bing rose from its ashes? That was Nadella’s doing too. He was also behind leading the teams that developed successful Microsoft products like Office 365, SkyDrive (now OneDrive), Xbox Live and other cloud-based services.
“I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things”
His inspiration behind the success he achieved comes from several sources. Nadella has a constant desire to learn new things, claiming that he buys more books than he can finish and signs up for more online courses than he can complete, but he also says that team sports has also played a role in how he manages his teams at the company. He is a massive fan of cricket and poetry and says that they have both influenced the way that he thinks about and conducts business.
“I think playing cricket for HPS (Hyderabad Public School) taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career.”
Today, Nadella is the most powerful Indian-born tech executive and one of the most powerful businessmen in the world. But unlike other influential CEOs in tech, Nadella leads a very private lifestyle and lives with his wife Anupuma whom he met in high school and his three children.
Believe it or not it’s already been a year since Microsoft appointed Nadella as head of the company, and a lot has changed since then. With exciting products like Windows 10 and HoloLens still to come, the Nadella era is off to a great start.