Microsoft Elects CEO Satya Nadella to Board Chair

Kimberly Redmond  |

Image: Satya Nadella. Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) chief executive officer Satya Nadella has been named chairman of the company’s board, the software giant announced Wednesday. 

In a statement, Microsoft said that Nadella had been “unanimously elected” to replace John W. Thompson in the position. Thompson will stay on the board as lead independent director – a post he held from 2012 to 2014, the company said.

"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.

Since becoming chief executive officer in 2014, Nadella has helped transform Microsoft into a leader in cloud computing. Under his leadership, Microsoft regained its standing as one of the world’s most valuable public companies, CNBC noted.

After Apple Inc, Microsoft is the second most valuable, with its stock having risen more than 600% and with a market value topping $1.96 trillion.  

Nadella is also one of the company’s top individual shareholders, with more than 1.6 million shares of stock, according to CNBC.

The news comes about a year after Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates left the company’s board in order to focus more on philanthropic work. 

Gates had ceased his day-to-day duties at Microsoft in June 2008, but remained board chairman until February 2014 and then a regular board member after that.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gates relinquished his seat after the board decided he should step down as it investigated the billionaire’s prior romantic relationship with a female employee in 2000 that was deemed inappropriate. 

Thompson, formerly chief executive officer and chairman at Symantec Corporation, joined Microsoft’s board in 2012 and replaced Gates as chair in 2014.

"As a lead independent director, Thompson 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,” Microsoft said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the company also declared a quarterly dividend of 56 cents per share payable September 9, to shareholders of record on Aug. 19, 2021.

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