The search for Microsoft’s next CEO is coming to a close, according to reports from Re/code and Bloomberg. Company insiders have told both publications that Microsoft’s board of directors is getting ready to name Satya Nadella – currently Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud – as the next CEO.
Nadella has been in the running for the CEO position since Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in August of last year. Other top candidates including ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally. Mulally took himself out of the running earlier this month, citing concerns about Microsoft’s CEO search leaks and its board of directors, specifically Chairman Bill Gates.
Speaking of Gates, Bloomberg also notes that the board of directors is considering replacing Chairman Gates with current board member John Thompson, who is leading up the CEO search. Gates’ position as Chairman of the board has been in question since October when it was reported that Microsoft’s top investors were questioning Gates’ power at the company – and whether he was actually holding the Redmond-based company back.
Microsoft hasn’t commented on the reports yet, but both publications indicate that the announcements will take place within a week.
Ballmer announced his retirement in August of 2013, so there’s no surprise that the search for the next CEO is starting to wrap up. The surprising – and most important - part of the reports is the thought that Gates will be replaced.
The departure of both Ballmer and Gates would cause Microsoft to undergo a total transformation. It’s possible that both leaders have been working together to accomplish their own goals, rather than push the company forward to compete with Apple and Google; and if that’s the case, then the board is certainly making the right decision. Many tech experts have speculated (and wanted) Microsoft to change with the industry for a long time, and the replacement of two of Microsoft’s most powerful individuals may be the start of such a revolution.
To appoint Nadella to the CEO position would be to put one of Microsoft’s most influential and successful employees at the helm of the company. I’m excited to see what can be done under his leadership: maybe Microsoft can start innovating once again.