Microsoft names Satya Nadella as CEO; Ballmer’s and Nadella’s letters to employees

Microsoft’s press release, Steve Ballmer’s letter to employees, and Satya Nadella’s letter to employees follow, verbatim:

Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Satya Nadella as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors effective immediately. Nadella previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Bill Gates, Microsoft’s Founder and Member of the Board of Directors. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”

Since joining the company in 1992, Nadella has spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts across the company’s portfolio of products and services, most notably the company’s move to the cloud and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. During his tenure overseeing Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business, the division outperformed the market and took share from competitors.

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft,” said Steve Ballmer, who announced on Aug. 23, 2013 that he would retire once a successor was named. “I’ve had the distinct privilege of working with the most talented employees and senior leadership team in the industry, and I know their passion and hunger for greatness will only grow stronger under Satya’s leadership.”

Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction. John Thompson, lead independent director for the Board of Directors, will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors and remain an independent director on the Board.

“Satya is clearly the best person to lead Microsoft, and he has the unanimous support of our Board,” Thompson said. “The Board took the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expected and deserved.”

With the addition of Nadella, Microsoft’s Board of Directors consists of Ballmer; Dina Dublon, former Chief Financial Officer of JPMorgan Chase; Gates; Maria M. Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College; Stephen J. Luczo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Seagate Technology PLC; David F. Marquardt, General Partner at August Capital; Nadella; Charles H. Noski, former Vice Chairman of Bank of America Corp.; Dr. Helmut Panke, former Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG; and Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Virtual Instruments. Seven of the 10 board members are independent of Microsoft, which is consistent with the requirement in the company’s governance guidelines that a substantial majority be independent.

Source: Microsoft Corp.

From: Steve Ballmer
To: All Employees
Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Subject: Satya Nadella – Microsoft’s New CEO

Today is an incredibly exciting day as we announce Satya Nadella as the new CEO of Microsoft. Satya will be a great CEO, and I am pumped for the future of Microsoft. You can read the full announcement here.

Satya is a proven leader. He’s got strong technical skills and great business insights. He has a remarkable ability to see what’s going on in the market, to sense opportunity, and to really understand how we come together at Microsoft to execute against those opportunities in a collaborative way. I have worked closely with Satya for many years and I have seen these skills many times. He is not alone, though. Our Senior Leadership Team has never been stronger, and together this group will drive us forward.

Microsoft is one of the great companies in the world. I love this company. I love the bigness and boldness of what we do. I love the way we partner with other companies to come together to change the world. I love the breadth and the diversity of all of the customers we empower, from students in the classroom to consumers to small businesses to governments to the largest enterprises.

Above all, I love the spirit of this place, the passion, and the perseverance, which has been the cornerstone of our culture from the very beginning.

Stay focused and keep moving forward. I am excited about what we will do. Satya’s appointment confirms that.

Thanks for making Microsoft the most amazing place to work on the planet, and thanks for the chance to lead.


From: Satya Nadella
To: All Employees
Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Subject: RE: Satya Nadella – Microsoft’s New CEO

Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day at Microsoft, 22 years ago. Like you, I had a choice about where to come to work. I came here because I believed Microsoft was the best company in the world. I saw then how clearly we empower people to do magical things with our creations and ultimately make the world a better place. I knew there was no better company to join if I wanted to make a difference. This is the very same inspiration that continues to drive me today.

It is an incredible honor for me to lead and serve this great company of ours. Steve and Bill have taken it from an idea to one of the greatest and most universally admired companies in the world. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with both Bill and Steve in my different roles at Microsoft, and as I step in as CEO, I’ve asked Bill to devote additional time to the company, focused on technology and products. I’m also looking forward to working with John Thompson as our new Chairman of the Board.

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. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places — as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.

As we start a new phase of our journey together, I wanted to share some background on myself and what inspires and motivates me.

Who am I?

I am 46. I’ve been married for 22 years and we have 3 kids. And like anyone else, a lot of what I do and how I think has been shaped by my family and my overall life experiences. Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me.

Why am I here?

I am here for the same reason I think most people join Microsoft — to change the world through technology that empowers people to do amazing things. I know it can sound hyperbolic — and yet it’s true. We have done it, we’re doing it today, and we are the team that will do it again.

I believe over the next decade computing will become even more ubiquitous and intelligence will become ambient. The coevolution of software and new hardware form factors will intermediate and digitize — many of the things we do and experience in business, life and our world. This will be made possible by an ever-growing network of connected devices, incredible computing capacity from the cloud, insights from big data, and intelligence from machine learning.

This is a software-powered world.

It will better connect us to our friends and families and help us see, express, and share our world in ways never before possible. It will enable businesses to engage customers in more meaningful ways.

I am here because we have unparalleled capability to make an impact.

Why are we here?

In our early history, our mission was about the PC on every desk and home, a goal we have mostly achieved in the developed world. Today we’re focused on a broader range of devices. While the deal is not yet complete, we will welcome to our family Nokia devices and services and the new mobile capabilities they bring us.

As we look forward, we must zero in on what Microsoft can uniquely contribute to the world. The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things.

We are the only ones who can harness the power of software and deliver it through devices and services that truly empower every individual and every organization. We are the only company with history and continued focus in building platforms and ecosystems that create broad opportunity.

Qi Lu captured it well in a recent meeting when he said that Microsoft uniquely empowers people to “do more.” This doesn’t mean that we need to do more things, but that the work we do empowers the world to do more of what they care about — get stuff done, have fun, communicate and accomplish great things. This is the core of who we are, and driving this core value in all that we do — be it the cloud or device experiences — is why we are here.

What do we do next?

To paraphrase a quote from Oscar Wilde — we need to believe in the impossible and remove the improbable.

This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.” We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

Next, every one of us needs to do our best work, lead and help drive cultural change. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.

Finally, I truly believe that each of us must find meaning in our work. The best work happens when you know that it’s not just work, but something that will improve other people’s lives. This is the opportunity that drives each of us at this company.

Many companies aspire to change the world. But very few have all the elements required: talent, resources, and perseverance. Microsoft has proven that it has all three in abundance. And as the new CEO, I can’t ask for a better foundation.

Let’s build on this foundation together.


MacDailyNews Take: Over the next decade, “intelligence will become ambient?” One can pray, we suppose. From what we can see when out and about, and in any Walmart on earth, Idiocracy wasn’t so much a movie as a dead on prophesy.

“Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world.” Gee, ya think?

“Having worked with him for more than 20 years, I know that Satya is the right leader at the right time for Microsoft” – Steve Ballmer. Kiss of death.

“Bill Gates will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

Introducing Tired and Mired™, The Undynamic Duo™.

And, if Nadella really thinks he “can’t ask for a better foundation” than the bridge of the listing S.S. Microtanic, he’s already doomed.

Satya Nadella is the wrong choice for Microsoft CEO. 🙂


        1. “Satya Nadella is the wrong choice for Microsoft CEO”

          Satya Nadella is a right choice for any CEO Job. But not for Microsoft which needs new blood and new brain!

    1. Well finally Microsoft has another technically capable CEO.

      Steve Jobs quote:
      “When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it.”

      Maybe Nadella can get Microsoft focused back on improving its products for its users instead of improving its “strategy”.

      A long time ago, Microsoft did the world a service by porting programming languages and tools to all the different kinds of computers other people were making. It help get the Personal Computer revolution started and created the first real independent software marketplace (before that most software was provided by hardware makers). So there was a time when Microsoft focused on “firsts” and really pleasing customers.

      I don’t think they have any chance to take back the computing leadership crown, that opportunity has passed them by. But they could go back to creating great new things, probably for the enterprise and developers, if they stop tying everything to “Windows” and provide value for all platforms again, including Mac OS X, Linux, Android, etc.

      1. I totally agree. The one encouraging remark he makes during the interview is that he wants Microsoft to focus on what it’s uniquely capable of doing. “impact”, “innovation”, “meaning”, these are all things he values.

        He’s much different from Ballmer. Satya Nadella, I understand. He wants to make an impact and do something meaningful. This is very Jobsian in spirit and hopefully in competency and execution as well.

        Ballmer on the other hand had no motivation other than empire building.

    2. Their choice is irrelevant:

      ““Bill Gates will assume a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

      1. Zeke, as I understand it, and unless he was directed to do it, Satya asked Gates for these changes in Gates’ roles. Note that he didn’t ask Balmer, of course. Sadly at the moment, he seems like a decent fellow who might actually get something positive done there. Balmer wasn’t quite there “as long as it takes.” I agree and had immediately thought of SJ’s quote on the “sales guy” running the company. Satya is clearly not a sales guy. I think MDN should withhold judgement for a short time to see how things unfold. I can’t imagine his turning around the company’s messes. But I haven’t seen any reason for personal attacks on him at the moment. Of course, the night is still young. But I even sense some humility in the guy. That’s a strange (but good) trait to see at MS – if it’s really there. We shall see.

        1. Whether Nadella asked for it or not, do you think he will really be successful at abandoning the current underlying (DOS) OS structure in favor of a Linux/Unix-like foundation with Gates looking over his shoulder, and with Ballmer remaining on the BOD? I think not, and I think until that happens Microsoft is doomed.

  1. Bill Gates should know as a Founder you can’t just walk away from your company or it will flounder. That’s assuming you had any original ideas in the first place.

    Good luck to Satya! I look forward to the unintended hilarity and entertainment ahead under his reign.

    Wow, we don’t have Ballmer T. Clown to directly kick around any more. We need a memorial video with sad music with slomo antics footage of Monkey Boy in action!

  2. I see more brown Zune type products. This is certainly not what I had expected. And the dribble from Gates and Ballmer remind me why we all have been cursed with mediocrity from MS under the guise of innovation and greatness for all these years. I predict this will prove to be a wrong choice.

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