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Satya Narayana Nadella (/ndl/ ; born 19 August 1967) is an Indian American business executive. He is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft, succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014.[1][2] Before becoming CEO, he was the executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms.

Early life

Nadella was born in Hyderabad[3] into a Telugu family. His father, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, was a civil servant who worked for the Indian Administrative Service of the Government of India.[4][5][6]

Nadella attended the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet[7] before receiving a bachelor’s in electrical engineering[8] from the Manipal Institute of Technology (then part of Mangalore University) in Karnataka in 1988.[9][10]Nadella subsequently traveled to the U.S. to study for an M.S. in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,[11][12] receiving his degree in 1990.[13] Later, he received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.[14]

Nadella said he “always wanted to build things”[15] and that electrical engineering “was a great way for to go discover what turned out to become a passion”, computer science.[16]


Sun Microsystems

Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems as a member of its technology staff prior to joining Microsoft in 1992.[17]


At Microsoft, Nadella has led major projects that included the company’s move to cloud computing and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.[18]

Nadella worked as the senior vice-president of Research and Development (R&D) for the Online Services Division and vice-president of the Microsoft Business Division. Later, he was made the president of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led a transformation of the company’s business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services. He has been credited for helping bring Microsoft’s database, Windows Server and developer tools to its Azure cloud.[14] The revenue from Cloud Services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011.[19] He received $84.5 million in 2016 pay.[20]

Nadella’s 2013 base salary was nearly $700,000, for a total compensation, with stock bonuses, of $17.6 million.[21]

Previous positions held by Nadella include:[22]

  • President of the Server & Tools Division (9 February 2011 – February 2014)
  • Senior Vice-President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division (March 2007 – February 2011)[23]
  • Vice-President of the Business Division
  • Corporate Vice-President of Business Solutions and Search & Advertising Platform Group
  • Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group[9]

On 4 February 2014, Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft,[1][2] the third chief executive in the company’s history, following Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.[24]

In October 2014, Nadella courted controversy when he made a statement that women should not ask for a raise and should trust the system.[25] The statement was made while he was attending an event on Women in Computing in Phoenix, AZ. Nadella was roundly criticised for the statement and he apologised later on Twitter.[26] He later sent an email to Microsoft employees admitting he was “Completely wrong”.[27]

Nadella changed the company’s direction after becoming CEO. His tenure has emphasized openness to working with companies and technologies with which Microsoft also competes, including Apple Inc.,[28]Salesforce,[29]IBM,[30] and Dropbox.[31] In contrast to previous Microsoft campaigns against the Linux operating system, Nadella proclaimed that “Microsoft Linux”,[32] and in 2016, Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member.[33]

Under Nadella Microsoft revised its mission statement to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”.[34] In comparison to founder Bill Gates‘s “a PC on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software”, Nadella says that it is an enduring mission, rather than a temporal goal.[35] His key goal has been transforming Microsoft’s corporate culture into one that values continual learning and growth.[36] He has cited the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck as inspiration for this philosophy around a “growth mindset”.[37]

Nadella’s leadership of Microsoft included a series of high-profile acquisitions of other companies, to redirect Microsoft’s focus. His first major acquisition was of Mojang, a Swedish game company best known for the popular freeform computer building game Minecraft, in late 2014, for $2.5 billion. Minecraft was notably a cross-platform game, with versions running on Apple’s iOS mobile devices, and the Sony PlayStation dedicated gaming console, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox.[38] He followed that by purchasing Xamarin[39] and LinkedIn[40] in 2016, then GitHub in 2018.[41]

In the years since becoming CEO, Nadella is viewed as having done well,[42] with Microsoft stock having tripled by September 2018, with a 27% annual growth rate.[43][44] In December 2018, Comparably called him the best CEO of a large company in the United States, citing anonymous Nadella employee reviews.[45]

Awards and recognition

In 2019, Nadella was named Financial Times (FT) Person of the Year, “Microsoft was at risk of technological irrelevance but the chief executive has presided over an era of stunning wealth creation”.[46]

Personal life

In 1992, Nadella married Anupama, the daughter of his father’s IAS batchmate. She was his junior at Manipal pursuing a B.Arch in the Faculty of Architecture.[47] The couple have three children, a son and two daughters, and live in Clyde Hill[48] and Bellevue, Washington.[49]

Nadella is an avid reader of American and Indian poetry. He also nurses a passion for cricket, having played on his school team.[50] Nadella and his wife Anupama are part of the ownership group of Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer club.[51]

Nadella has authored a book titled Hit Refresh that explores his life, his career in Microsoft and how he believes technology will shape the future. He announced that the profits from the book would go to Microsoft Philanthropies and through that to nonprofit organizations.[52]