Satya Nadella, New CEO of Microsoft Corp.: 8 Things You Need to Know

Nadella, 46, joined Microsoft in 1992 and will be its third CEO after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) named Satya Nadella as its new chief executive officer effective immediately, handing the keys over to an insider who must now chart a course for one of the world's biggest tech companies.

What was the first thing Nadella, 46, wrote in an internal email as the leader of the $24.5 billion company? "Today is a very humbling day for me."

He also gave a nod to Bill Gates, who is no longer chairman of the board. Gates has a new role on the board as "founder and technology advisor."

Read More: Major Microsoft Investors Want Bill Gates Out as Chairman

"I've been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and [former CEO Steve Ballmer] in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I've asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products," Nadella wrote in the email.

Read More: Microsoft Names Insider Nadella as CEO

Here are the things you should know about Microsoft's new CEO:

PHOTO: Microsoft named Satya Nadella as its new CEO.
22-year marriage to Microsoft and his wife

Microsoft's third CEO Satya Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems before joining the firm in 1992. While getting an MBA from the University of Chicago over two and a half years, he worked on an operating system that would become Windows NT.

"I used to fly to Chicago Friday nights, attend classes Saturdays and come back to Redmond to work during the week," Nadella said, according to Microsoft's website.

He's been married for 22 years and has three kids.

In Nadella's own words, "family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me."

Living Microsoft's good and bad

Norman Young, a Morningstar analyst, points out that Nadella has run "both the most profitable" (server and tools business) and "least profitable" (Bing) businesses at Microsoft.

He became president of the servers and tools business in 2011, the third-largest group after the Windows and Office divisions.

Microsoft said Nadella led the firm's move to the cloud and the development of what the company calls the largest cloud infrastructures in the world, supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services.

Leader of the cloud

Young said Nadella "currently runs what is arguably the future of Microsoft and almost all software," that is, the cloud business, and specifically Azure.

While Nadella oversaw Microsoft's Server and Tools Business, the division "outperformed the market and took share from competitors," Microsoft points out.

Consumer experience limited

However, Young points out that Nadella "doesn't have a lot of experience on the consumer and devices side of the business."

Nadella tells employees, "This is a software-powered world."

"I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient," Nadella said in his email to Microsoft employees. "The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning."


Young said Nadella is "well-liked and respected inside the company for both his technical expertise and his operating acumen."

Born in Hyderabad, India, Nadella attended Mangalore University in India and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering because his initial area of interest, computer science, was not offered.

He later received a master's degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

Not just a techie

Again, Nadella received a MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business after taking classes part-time.

Young, who admits he may be biased because he attended University of Chicago as well, said Nadella is "not just a technology guy – he knows finance and management as well."

On the short-list of CEOs: clear choice?

Young said Nadella has been on the short-list of candidates since the beginning of the search for a new CEO after Ballmer announced last August that he was retiring.

Read More: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Retiring

What he does for fun

Nadella reads poetry to relax, by both American and Indian poets.

"It's like code," he said, according to Microsoft's website. "You're trying to take something that can be described in many, many sentences and pages of prose, but you can convert it into a couple lines of poetry and you still get the essence, so it's that compression."

He also said he likes to watch Test cricket, "which is the longest form of any sport in the world," with games that can go for days and days.

"I love it," he said, on Microsoft's website. "There's so many subplots in it, it's like reading a Russian novel."

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