Microsoft announced Wednesday that CEO Satya Nadella will take on the dual position of chairman of the company’s board, replacing unbiased director John Thompson.
“In this position, 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,” Microsoft said in a news release.
The elevation was a unanimous election by the board’s unbiased directors. Thompson will become lead unbiased director, a position he held previously from 2012 to 2014. He will “retain significant authority including providing enter on behalf of the unbiased directors on board agendas, calling conferences of the unbiased directors, setting agendas for executive sessions, and leading performance evaluations of the CEO,” Microsoft said.
Nadella, 53, first joined Microsoft in 1992 and was named CEO in February 2014, at the same time that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the board.
Gates left the board last March, 45 years after co-founding the software giant with childhood friend Paul Allen. Fallout from Gates’ recent divorce announcement revealed that he left the board after allegations surfaced that he had an inappropriate relationship with an employee.
Under Nadella, Microsoft has regained its stature as a tech powerhouse, making headlines for acquisitions of companies such as LinkedIn and GitHub, putting focus on the company’s cloud computing business, making accessibility and equity a leading platform of the company’s tradition, and avoiding the antitrust scrutiny that has plagued rivals Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook.
Microsoft is the second most valuable company in the world behind Apple.
“Success is necessary, but you have to remember that your success has to have approach from some sense of purpose,” Nadella said in an interview with GeekWire in 2019.