Analyst: Nadella 'Not A Marquee Name' But 'Solid Choice' For Microsoft CEO

Feb 4, 2014

Microsoft has confirmed that Satya Nadella, 46, will be its new CEO as of Tuesday.

Todd Bishop, co-founder of the tech website Geekwire, said Nadella, who has worked at Microsoft for 22 years, will be making a big leap. “He’s been a strong business leader inside the company, but he’s never led an organization at this scale before,” Bishop said.

He said Nadella’s coworkers describe him as “thoughtful, deliberate and not afraid to make difficult decisions,” but he’s not widely known in the tech world.

“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge for him to assert his visions for the company; not just in Microsoft, but across the tech industry and among Microsoft’s customers – both businesses and everyday consumers,” Bishop said.

To help with the transition, another major change was announced today: Microsoft founder Bill Gates will be stepping out of the board chairman’s seat to become a technical advisor. “Gates will essentially be there as one of [Nadella’s] right-hand people to guide him through the process and really try to, at the same time, ensure that the company is technologically relevant,” Bishop said.

Gates’ new role is a big deal, according to Bishop, and could help the company get back on its feet. However, it may take some time for people to get used to the transition.

“For the first time in Microsoft’s history, Bill Gates is neither CEO nor chairman,” Bishop said. “I think Microsoft is going to be battling a bit of a public relations issue here in trying to convince people that Gates will actually be stepping up in this new role and not stepping down as much in his prior roles.”

Bishop expects Gates to take a more central role in the company as Nadella prepares to take the reins.

“Aside from the fact that Microsoft did not get a marquee name here as its next CEO, I think they made a solid choice, even if some people might view it as uninspired,” Bishop said.

Nadella succeeds Steve Ballmer who announced his retirement last summer.

Produced for the Web by Kara McDermott.