Microsoft names Nadella as CEO, brings Gates era to a close

Microsoft named its top cloud computing executive, Satya Nadella, as chief executive on Tuesday, simultaneously drawing the curtains on the era of its larger than life chairman.

In a statement, the Redmond based software giant said Bill Gates would step aside as chairman of the board but would remain a technology advisor to the company. It also named John Thompson, who has been the lead independent director, will become chairman.

The move to tap Nadella, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, brings a protracted search for a new CEO to a close after Steve Ballmer’s unexpected exit. Nadella has spearheaded the company’s cloud-computing infrastructure, which includes Bing, Xbox and Microsoft Office.

Microsoft shares rose 1 percent in premarket trading. (What’s the stock doing now? Click here)

Nadella’s appointment ends a longer-than-expected search for a new leader after Steve Ballmer announced his intention to retire in August.

Nadella is only the third CEO in Microsoft’s 39-year history, following co-founder Bill Gates and Ballmer.

The company took to Twitter to introduce its choice as CEO.

msft

In an email to Microsoft staff, Nadella acknowledged there was work to be done.

“While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft,” he said.

—CNBC.com with Reuters

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