Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been appointed as the company’s new chairman. The India-born techie-who has helmed the top executive role at the Washington-based behemoth for more than seven years- will replace John Thompson, who will return to the role of lead independent director, a role he held previously from 2012 to 2014. Nadella had succeeded Steve Ballmer to become Microsoft’s CEO in 2014.
Nadella has been credited for turning around the software giant. Under his leadership, the company recovered from failures in the mobile phone and internet search market, as well as a waning of the importance of its flagship Windows operating system. He has refocused the company around cloud computing, mobile applications and artificial intelligence while breathing new life into the Office software franchise by shifting it more to the cloud and to other operating systems.
Nadella has been instrumental in scaling up Microsoft’s business including billion-dollar acquisitions like LinkedIn, Nuance Communications and ZeniMax.
In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review, the company said in a statement.
The top-level executive change comes just over a year after Mr. Gates stepped down from the board, saying he would focus on philanthropic works of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s biggest charities.
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Nadella, 53, succeeds Thompson, who as the lead independent director, will retain significant authority including providing input on behalf of the independent directors on board agendas, calling meetings of the independent directors, setting agendas for executive sessions, and leading performance evaluations of the CEO, the technology giant said.
In addition to these role changes, the board declared a quarterly dividend of USD 0.56 per share. The dividend is payable September 9, 2021, to shareholders of record on August 19, 2021.