Microsoft reportedly has chosen its new CEO, and may also replace Bill Gates as chairman
The search has been long, a bit over five months now, but reports are saying that Microsoft might be close to naming its new CEO. There were plenty of rumored names for the position since current CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down, not least of which was Stephen Elop, who some thought had the inside track following Microsoft's purchase of Nokia. But, new reports are saying the choice will actually be Satya Nadella.
Nadella is currently the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group. Nadella apparently has been chosen for a number of reasons, not least of which is his experience inside Microsoft where he has worked since 1992. Sources are saying that Nadella became the frontrunner for the position weeks ago, but his selection isn't 100% certain. Microsoft's executive VP of Business, Tony Bates, and Nokia chief Stephen Elop are reportedly still technically in the running, but neither has much chance in the race.
Quartz happened to interview Nadella just last month in December, and learned that his vision for Microsoft is one that is heavily focused on "devices and services" which is to say hardware and the cloud. Nadella understands the hugely powerful disruptive force of the cloud, and he thinks Microsoft has a solid base for competing in that space where Google and Amazon are the current leaders.
The official announcement may happen within the next week, at which point we should learn more about the details of the succession plan. Steve Ballmer has said that he would be retiring no later than August, but it seems likely that the transition would be made sooner than that.
Another interesting bit of news is that Microsoft may also be discussing replacing Bill Gates as chairman of the board. There is already a pre-set plan in place which would leave Gates with no financial stake in Microsoft by 2018, but insiders at Microsoft may want to speed up that plan. Although, even if Gates is replaced as chairman, he would likely still remain active in the company. One name being floated as a possible replacement as chairman is John Thompson who is the former chairman and CEO of Symantec Corp, and joined the Microsoft board in 2012.