After what seems like months of speculation and rumor, we finally know that the hotly-tipped Satya Nadella is to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's CEO. There were several names in the running, but Nadella has been the favorite for some time. His appointment certainly does not come as a great shock; but is he the right choice. Put simply: yes.
Some commentators have expressed concerned that he has no previous experience of running a company -- and Microsoft is a gigantic ship to steer -- but we should be careful not to concentrate on this too much. Running Microsoft, or any other company for that matter, is far from being a one man show. As CEO, Nadella will ultimately have the final say, but just as President Obama does not run the US single-handedly, neither is the CEO responsible for every single aspect of the day to day running of a company.
What is important to remember is that Nadella is far from being a Microsoft virgin; this is a man who joined the company more than 20 years ago. This is invaluable experience as it means he already has knowledge of the inner workings of the company -- and having seen how things look from slightly lower down the ladder, he probably already has ideas for changes and improvements that could be made.
this is a man who joined the company more than 20 years ago
Nadella is used to working on the cutting edge at Microsoft. He has worked on Office, Bing, cloud computing, enterprise venture, Skype and Xbox, to name but a few. This is a man with a great deal of experience to draw upon. In recent years, Microsoft has shown a propensity towards online services so it is hard to think of someone better qualified to move things forward. In particular, Nadella's experience in the enterprise arm of Microsoft will stand him in good stead.
Cornerstone of Microsoft, Bill Gates is also going to be on hand. Some had thought that the company founder could all but sever ties with Microsoft, and thankfully this did not turn out to be the case. By not only remaining on the board but also taking on a new role as technology advisor, Gates will be there for the hand-holding stage that Nadella will have to go through, and it is hard to imagine that he will ever be more than a phone call or email away should the new CEO feel the need for a little help.
It seems that the appointment has been generally well-received. Microsoft stock rose after the announcement -- not by much, but it went in the right direction. It is understandable that there will be some trepidation. With only Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer having been at the helm before, Nadella has a great deal to live up to.
he already has knowledge of the inner workings of the company
The new CEO has something of a different image to his predecessors. At just 46, Nadella is fairly young, but he has a very young-at-heart feel to him. His appointment is reminiscent of the energy President Obama gave off at the start of his first term. It is important not to place too much emphasis on race, but it is great to see that the new CEO is not just another white, middle-age, middle-class, middle of the road man in a suit. It was time for something different, and the right decision has been made.
There's a life and excitement that has been lacking in recent years. It's hard to say what will happen in the coming years, but Nadella seems like a man who won't be afraid to take risks, to look at the bigger picture and not turn to quick fixes. He knows Microsoft, and Microsoft knows him. He is the perfect choice and will take Microsoft forward in ways that an outsider simply would not have been able to.
What do you think? Is the appointment the injection of new blood that Microsoft needs?