Based on several reports is appears very likely that Microsoft will announce that Satya Nadella will be the next CEO. He brings an engineering background to the C suite. He’s also a B-school grad.
For the past three years Nadella has run Microsoft’s Server & Tools business. Before that he was in charge of Bing and online advertising.
Nadella presided over the transition from Live Search to Bing and understands the search business. Nokia’s Stephen Elop said that he might consider selling Bing if he were elevated to the CEO role. Nadella would be very unlikely to do that, recognizing the value that Bing brings to Microsoft across the company.
I’ve met Nadella several times and find him to be very appealing personality. Ballmer is not quite as appealing and to the extent Ballmer and his temper came to be synonymous with Microsoft it was hard to root for the company. Nadella’s much more understated personal style and humility would help make the Microsoft brand more appealing as well — at least to tech journalists.
Nadella is a wild card from an institutional investor standpoint, however. The market doesn’t know him.
Regardless, he’s a strong choice for some of the reasons I mentioned. He’s also a veteran insider, having been at Microsoft for roughly 20 years. This, along with his engineering expertise, would give Nadella immediate credibility (I believe) among the Microsoft rank and file. This is not something that Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally would have had.
It remains to be seen if Nadella is announced as the CEO but it’s about 95 percent certain at this point.