Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella named chairman of the board

Satya Nadella speaks at the World Economic Forum 2016 in Davos, Switzerland.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Microsoft said Wednesday that after a unanimous vote by the software company’s board of directors, CEO Satya Nadella will take over the chairmanship of the company’s board of directors, replacing independent director John Thompson.

The change reflects the success Nadella has had over the past seven years in bringing Microsoft better known in technology and business as a whole.

“In this role, Nadella will lead the agenda setting work for the board of directors and use his deep understanding of the business to leverage the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for board review,” said Microsoft in a statement.

Under Nadella’s supervision, Microsoft regained the title of Most Valuable Public Company in the World. Today it’s the second most valuable, just behind Apple, with Microsoft stock rising more than 600%.

Nadella’s Microsoft has increased its focus on cloud computing services to support other companies’ applications, and the company has expanded with the acquisition of the corporate social network LinkedIn, source code sharing site GitHub, and video game developer Zenimax.

Microsoft board members praised Nadella for his leadership role during the coronavirus pandemic in the proxy statement filed in December, with the company posting 14% revenue growth in fiscal 2020 despite facing challenges in advertising and other markets. “The board of directors credits Mr. Nadella for his tremendous progress in driving cultural change across the company, especially given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our business and our employees,” said Microsoft.

Nadella is one of Microsoft’s largest single shareholders with more than 1.6 million shares in the company.

The move came a year after Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft and its first CEO, left the company’s board of directors. Gates resigned after the board investigated a report that found Gates attempting an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, a company spokesman said.

Thompson, formerly CEO of Symantec, joined Microsoft’s board of directors in 2012 and replaced Gates as Microsoft chairman in 2014, and Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO on the same day.

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