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Satya Nadella

The one thing that defines me is that I love to learn.

Satya Narayana Nadella is an engineer and Indian American business executive. He is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft, having succeeded Steve Ballmer in 2014. He led a giant round of layoffs and flattened the organization, getting rid of middle managers. Before becoming chief executive, he was the Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, responsible for building and running the company's computing platforms.

Nadella was born in Hyderabad into a Telugu family. His father, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandher, was a civil servant who worked for the Indian Administrative Service of the Government of India.

He attended the Hyderabad Public School Begumpet before receiving a bachelor's in electrical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology (then a part of Mangalore University) in Karnataka in 1988. Nadella subsequently traveled to the U.S. to study for a M.S. in computer science at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, receiving his degree in 1990. Later, he received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Nadella said he "always wanted to build things" and that electrical engineering "was a great way for [him] to go discover what turned out to become a passion", that passion being computer science.

He worked at Sun Microsystems as a member of its technology staff prior to joining Microsoft in 1992.

At Microsoft, Nadella has led major projects that included the company's move to cloud computing and the development of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world.

Nadella worked as the senior vice-president of Research and Development (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. He has been credited for helping bring 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. He received $84.5 million in 2016 pay.

Nadella's 2013 base salary was nearly $700,000, for a total compensation, with stock bonuses, of $17.6 million.

Previous positions held by Nadella include:

  • President of the Server & Tools Division (9 February 2011 – February 2014)
  • Senior Vice-President of Research and Development for the Online Services Division (March 2007 – February 2011)
  • Vice-President of the Business Division
  • Corporate Vice-President of Business Solutions and Search & Advertising Platform Group
  • Executive Vice-President of Cloud and Enterprise group

On 4 February 2014, Nadella was announced as the new CEO of Microsoft, the third chief executive in the company's history, following Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

In October 2014, Nadella courted controversy when he made a statement that women should not ask for a raise and should trust the system. The statement was made while he was attending an event on Women in Computing in Phoenix, AZ. Nadella was roundly criticized for the statement and he apologized later on Twitter.He later sent an email to Microsoft employees admitting he was "Completely wrong".

Nadella changed the company's direction after becoming CEO. His tenure has emphasized openness to working with companies and technologies with which Microsoft also competes, including Apple Inc., Salesforce, IBM, and Dropbox. In contrast to previous Microsoft campaigns against the Linux operating system, Nadella proclaimed that "Microsoft ♥ Linux", and in 2016, Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member.

Under Nadella, Microsoft revised its mission statement to "empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more". In comparison to founder Bill Gates's "a PC on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software", Nadella says that it is an enduring mission, rather than a temporal goal. His key goal has been transforming Microsoft's corporate culture into one that values continual learning and growth. He has cited the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck as inspiration for this philosophy around a "growth mindset".

Nadella's leadership of Microsoft has included a series of high-profile acquisitions of other companies, to redirect Microsoft's focus. His first major acquisition was of Mojang, a Swedish game company best known for the popular freeform computer building game Minecraft, in late 2014, for $2.5 billion. Minecraft was notably a cross-platform game, with versions running on Apple's iOS mobile devices, and the Sony PlayStation dedicated gaming console, as well as Microsoft's XboxHe followed that by purchasing Xamarin[41] and LinkedIn in 2016, then GitHub in 2018.

In the years since becoming CEO, Nadella is viewed as having done well, with Microsoft stock having tripled by September 2018, with a 27% annual growth rate. In December 2018, Comparably called him the best CEO of a large company in the United States, citing anonymous Nadella employee reviews.

In 1992, Nadella married Anupama, the daughter of his father's Indian Administrative Service batchmate. She was his junior at Manipal pursuing a B.Arch in the Faculty of Architecture. The couple have three children, a son and two daughters, and have lived in Clyde Hill[49] and Bellevue, Washington.

Nadella is an avid reader of American and Indian poetry. He also nurses a passion for cricket, having played on his school team.[51] Nadella and his wife Anupama are part of the ownership group of Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer club..

Nadella has authored a book titled Hit Refresh that explores his life, his career in Microsoft and how he believes technology will shape the future. He announced that the profits from the book would go to Microsoft Philanthropies and through that to nonprofit organizations.

The New York Times bestseller Hit Refresh is about individual change, about the transformation happening inside of Microsoft and the technology that will soon impact all of our lives—the arrival of the most exciting and disruptive wave of technology humankind has experienced: artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and quantum computing. It’s about how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform and “hit refresh” in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal.

Microsoft’s CEO tells the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era. Satya Nadella explores a fascinating childhood before immigrating to the U.S. and how he learned to lead along the way. He then shares his meditations as a sitting CEO—one who is mostly unknown following the brainy Bill Gates and energetic Steve Ballmer. He tells the inside story of how a company rediscovered its soul—transforming everything from culture to their fiercely competitive landscape and industry partnerships. As much a humanist as engineer and executive, Nadella concludes with his vision for the coming wave of technology and by exploring the potential impact to society and delivering call to action for world leaders.

“Ideas excite me,” Nadella explains. “Empathy grounds and centers me.” Hit Refresh is a set of reflections, meditations, and recommendations presented as algorithms from a principled, deliberative leader searching for improvement—for himself, for a storied company, and for society.


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