Microsoft CEO gets a side hustle — Satya Nadella made Chair of Microsoft board

Gates did both jobs, Ballmer didn’t. And of course there’s a handbrake in the form of a new lead independent director


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been appointed Chair of the company’s board.

The company’s announcement states that Nadella was unanimously elected.

He replaces John W. Thompson, who also faced no opposition to his shift into the role of lead independent director.

Thompson therefore gets to lead Nadella’s performance evaluations and ensure that investors’ interests are considered by the board.

Nadella will now “lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review” according to Microsoft’s statement.

Microsoft’s first CEO, Bill Gates, served as Chair of the company while CEO. His successor, Steve Ballmer, did not.

The decision to have Nadella serve in both roles is undoubtedly an endorsement of his achievements as CEO, which include turning Microsoft into the world’s second most-valuable company and growing revenue from $87 billion when he first led the company in 2014 to the $143 billion the company reported in 2020.

On Nadella’s watch Microsoft has built the world’s second-largest public cloud, successfully shifted to subscription products and cloud services, created new hits like Teams, and with Windows 10 consolidated its grip on the desktop. Microsoft remains a tourist on mobile devices, but so does its old pal Intel. That’s hardly a black mark for Nadella, since he inherited Steve Ballmer’s barmy Nokia buy. ®

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