Long-time Microsoft executive Satya Nadella will be immediately replacing retiring CEO Steve Ballmer, and company founder Bill Gates will be stepping down from his position as chairman in order to take an active, product-focused role in the company.
The move comes less than six months after Ballmer, Gates’s hand-picked successor, announced his intention to retire. Nadella had been tabbed as a favorite by insiders from the start, and his candidacy gained steam among Microsoft watchers after Ford CEO Alan Mulally withdrew his name from consideration.
“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” Gates said in a statement. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together,” he added.
Nadella had previously led Microsoft’s enterprise and computing group, where one of his responsibilities was to oversee the infrastructure for the company’s Xbox Live and Bing services. Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992.
While Gates will remain on the Microsoft board, the Chairman’s seat will be filled by Virtual Instruments CEO John Thompson. The company says Gates will be “supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”