Unnamed sources close to Microsoft’s CEO search claim that the company is getting ready to name Satya Nadella, the current enterprise and cloud chief, as the successor to Steve Ballmer. There’s also talk that Bill Gates may be replaced as Microsoft’s Chairman of the Board.
According to the sources, Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson will probably take Gates’ place, allowing the Microsoft co-founder to be more involved with the company such as product development. However there’s speculation that if Microsoft hires a CEO from the inside, the company may look for a new chairman beyond the Redmond walls.
Currently the plans aren’t final, but Nadella, 46, became one of the more stronger candidates several weeks ago. Nadella joins former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft Executive Vice President Tony Bates and COO Kevin Turner on the list of possible candidates
Bloomberg reports that Nadella, while serving as Microsoft’s server business president, boosted revenue to $20.3 billion in the fiscal year through June, up from $16.6 billion when he took the position in 2011. That unit became cloud and enterprise during Ballmer’s company restructuring last summer.
Recode reports that Nadella is the likeliest candidate due to his familiarity with the company, he has a strong technical background, and has spent most of his career within the Redmond walls. But two other insiders – Bates and Elop – have not been told that they are out of the running. That means the committee still hasn’t made a final decision.
Despite the search seemingly coming to a close, there are a number of people inside and outside Microsoft who still believe the committee may opt for an outsider to take over. That won’t be Ford’s Alan Mulally, Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf and Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg who have made it clear they don’t want Starship Microsoft’s captain’s chair.
Earlier in January, Bill Gates told Bloomberg that he devotes most of his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and charitable efforts. He said he would work on philanthropy full time for the rest of his life, and contribute part time as a Microsoft board member.
“The board is doing important work right now,” said Gates. “The foundation is the biggest part of my time. I put in part-time work to help as a board member. My full-time work will be the foundation for the rest of my life. I will not change that.”
There’s no doubt that Microsoft wants its new CEO and Chairman in place before the company opens the doors to BUILD in April. By then Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Phone 8.1 should be upon us, and Microsoft is expected to talk about Windows 9 for October 2014 or April 2015.