Satya Nadella speaking at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Microsoft said Wednesday that CEO Satya Nadella is becoming the chair of the company’s board, replacing independent director John Thompson, following a unanimous vote of the software company’s board.
The change reflects the success Nadella has had in the past seven years making Microsoft more prominent in technology and business altogether.
“In this role, Nadella will 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,” Microsoft said in a statement.
Under Nadella’s watch Microsoft regained the title of world’s most valuable public company. Today it stands as the second most valuable, only behind Apple, with Microsoft stock having risen more than 600%.
Nadella’s Microsoft has become more focused on cloud computing services to power other company’s applications, and the company has expanded through acquisitions of business social network LinkedIn, source code-sharing site GitHub and video-game developer Zenimax.
Microsoft’s board members gave plaudits to Nadella for his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic in the proxy statement the company filed in December, with the company delivering 14% revenue growth in the 2020 fiscal year, even as the company faced challenges in advertising and other markets. “The board credits Mr. Nadella for his tremendous progress driving cultural change across the organization, especially given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our business and our people,” Microsoft said.
Nadella is one of Microsoft’s top individual shareholders, with more than 1.6 million shares of the company’s stock.
The move came a year after Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft and its first CEO, left the company’s board. Gates stepped down after the board investigated a report that Gates had tried to start an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, a company spokesperson said.
Thompson, formerly CEO of Symantec, joined Microsoft’s board in 2012 and replaced Gates as Microsoft’s chair in 2014, on the same day Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as the Microsoft CEO.