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Microsoft closes in on new CEO - But will Gates go?

03 Feb 2014

Microsoft is preparing to appoint Satya Nadella as the company’s new CEO, and in a double move for Redmond, replace founder Bill Gates as chairman of the board.

Currently holding the position of Cloud and Enterprise group vice president, Nadella’s apparent move into the Microsoft hot seat is no surprise following months of speculation regarding Steve Ballmer’s successor.

Yet rumours of Gates leaving the fold have generated the most column inches around tech circles, with Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson the alleged frontrunner as his replacement.

Albeit only speculation at this stage, Bloomberg reports such a move could see the company founder adopt a more involved role within the organisation, in areas such as product development.

But while Gates’ future remains blurred, people with knowledge of the process claim Nadella’s move up the Redmond ranks is a done deal.

After joining Microsoft in 1992, Nadella worked as the senior vice president of R&D for the Online Services Division and vice president of the Microsoft Business Division.

Later, he was made the president of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led a transformation of the company's business and technology culture from client services to cloud infrastructure and services.

Credited for bringing Microsoft's database, Windows server and developer tools to its Azure cloud, the revenue from Cloud Services grew to $20.3 billion in June 2013 from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011.

Following the speculation, FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives believes the biggest impact would be around Gates leaving the board, rather than Nadella taking over company control.

“If they are going for the CEO who is right down the hall from Steve Ballmer, you’ve got to give investors a bone,” he says.

“It would obviously be a big change and a historic change but it’s obvious Microsoft needs change in terms of strategy in terms of the next leg of growth.”

Is Satya Nadella the right man for the job? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below

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