The CEO is dead. Long live the CEO!
Microsoft’s reign under Steve Ballmer – who himself had replaced co-founder Bill Gates as CEO – has been troubled. The company has had some success with the Xbox and cloud software divisions, it hasn’t all been roses with Windows (especially Windows 8), Office, and some of its server products.
As a result, overall Microsoft growth has been pretty flat, much to the chagrin of its many and powerful shareholders. In fact, when Steve Ballmer announced that he’d be stepping down last year, the share price insultingly rose.
Since that time, Microsoft has been on a CEO search, and we’ve watched from the outside as they’ve entertained candidates such as Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, and ex-Microsoftie, ex-Nokia CEO, soon-to-be-Microsoft-executive Stephen Elop.
But they’ve all been passed over for Microsoft’s own enterprise head, and 22-year company veteran, Satya Nadella.
Natella is the software giant’s third-ever CEO, but his isn’t the only appointment making waves today. Bill Gates, who has been Microsoft’s chairman since the company went public, is also stepping down, in favor of current director John Thompson, who once ran the security-focused Symantec.
Both changes are likely to be well received by Wall Street; Microsoft has been in dire need of a shakeup at the highest levels. The company is not doing well against rivals such as Google and Apple (its early investment in Facebook gives it some leeway there, at least), especially in the mobile market.