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Microsoft Will Likely Name Satya Nadella As Its Next CEO: Reports

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SATYA NADELLA
Satya Nadella, senior vice president of research and development for the online services division for Microsoft Corp., speaks during a Microsoft Search Summit event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010. Microsoft Corp. updated its Bing search engine today, aiming to build on U.S. market-share gains last month as it chases Google Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft has decided that its next CEO will be Satya Nadella, an executive vice president at Microsoft and longtime employee at the ailing software maker, Bloomberg News is reporting.

Microsoft cast a wide net for its next chief executive, both within and outside the company. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO for a decade, said he planned to step down from the position in August. Microsoft ran through a slew of corporate stars, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, before choosing Nadella, an internal candidate with less name recognition.

Bloomberg News hedged its report, saying Microsoft's "plans aren’t finished," according to its sources.

The intervening months of uncertainty over who would lead Microsoft took its toll on employees' morale, reports Re/code's well-sourced Kara Swisher, who also confirmed that Nadella is the "likeliest internal candidate to prevail" as CEO. Nevertheless, Microsoft workers "seem to love him," reports Fortune's Dan Primack.

Bill Gates may step back to an even smaller role at Microsoft since ending his run as CEO in 2000. Again according to Bloomberg, the board is discussing having someone replace Gates as chairman of the board, a position from which Gates gently steered Microsoft during Ballmer's rocky tenure through the last decade. Since 2000, Gates has directed most of his energy to philanthropic efforts.

Moving from Sun Microsystems to Microsoft in 1992, Nadella is currently in charge of cloud computing and enterprise software -- a side of Microsoft's business that primarily sells to other businesses, not regular customers. Over the past several years, Microsoft has struggled to sell consumer products like Windows Phone or Microsoft Surface while its enterprise business has remained healthy.