Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appointed chairman of the board

Satya Nadella speaking at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Microsoft said on Wednesday that CEO Satya Nadella became chairman of the company’s board, replacing independent director John Thompson, following a unanimous vote by the software company’s board.

The change reflects the success Nadella has enjoyed over the past seven years, making Microsoft a more prominent place in technology and business.

“In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the board agenda, leveraging her in-depth understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and business approaches. ‘mitigation for the board’s review,’ Microsoft said in declaration.

Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft regained the title of the world’s most valuable public company. Today, it ranks second, behind Apple, with Microsoft stock rising more than 600%.

Nadella’s Microsoft focused more on cloud computing services to power the applications of other companies, and the company has grown through acquisitions of corporate social network LinkedIn, source code sharing site GitHub, and from video game developer Zenimax.

Microsoft board members praised Nadella for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic in the declaration of power of attorney the company filed in December, with the company seeing 14% revenue growth in fiscal 2020, even as the company faced challenges in advertising and other markets. “The Board of Directors credits Mr. Nadella for his significant progress in cultural change across the organization, especially given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our business and our employees,” Microsoft said.

Nadella is one of the largest individual shareholders of Microsoft, with more than 1.6 million shares of the company.

The move came a year after Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and its first CEO, stepped down from the company’s board of directors. Gates resigned after the board investigated a report that Gates attempted to establish an intimate relationship with an employee in 2000, a company spokesperson said.

Thompson, a former CEO of Symantec, joined the Microsoft board in 2012 and replaced Gates as Microsoft president in 2014, the same day Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO.

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