Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella named as company's board chairman

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been named as the company's board chairman.
  • Nadella succeeds John Thompson, who will return to his previous role of lead independent director.
  • Nadella is Microsoft's third board chairman and the first to act as CEO and board chairman concurrently since co-founder Bill Gates.

Microsoft named Satya Nadella as its board chairman. Nadella will continue to be the company's CEO, making him the first person to hold both roles since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The CEO was unanimously elected to the role of board chairman.

Nadella fills the role previously held by John Thompson, who will return to his role of lead independent director. Microsoft states that Thompson, 72, has been scaling back his work as chairman over the last few years. Nadella and Thompson have discussed the transition since last fall.

Nadella became CEO of Microsoft in February 2014. At the same time, Microsoft co-founder Gates stepped down from his role as chairman and was succeeded by Thompson.

During his time as CEO, Nadella refocused Microsoft's efforts on cloud computing and AI. Microsoft also saw strategy shifts related to mobile applications, mobile devices, and its Office suite during Nadella tenure.

Nadella has also overseen major acquisitions during his time as chief executive, including the purchase of LinkedIn, GitHub, and Minecraft maker Mojang.

Since Nadella took over as CEO, Microsoft's market value reached $1.9 trillion, which is an increase of more than seven times.

Microsoft states that Thompson will oversee Nadella's board operations, succession planning, compensation, and governance in his role as lead independent director.

Nadella is Microsoft's third CEO but only the second to hold the role of CEO and board chairman concurrently. Former CEO Steve Balmer was not board chairman, instead working with Gates, who held that role. Gates stepped down from his role as chief executive in 2000, though he still remains an advisor to Nadella.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • Good, he deserves it he's done a great job!
  • He's better then gates definitely . But he still gave up on windows phone. 😒 Boo
  • Agree so boo to that
  • Your "boo" belongs to Balmer. He is the one who dropped the ball with phones. Nadella to clean up the mess.
  • He did initially dropped the ball but the windows phone was great system they just couldn't get people to make apps for it unfortunately. The biggest mistake was charging people to put their apps on it
  • I don't think they have given up on Windows Phones, per se. If anything, it seems like they're trying to make Windows 11 more designed for touch devices, like phones and tablets. Windows now runs on ARM, native Android support is coming to Windows and Windows 11 has a bunch of new touch capabilities; it all sounds like they're going to bring back the Windows Continuum idea, where perhaps you have a device that runs Android (instead of UWP) apps while on the go, and when docked becomes a full on Windows desktop PC.
  • Don't get me wrong about Ballmer. Ballmer seems like an awesome guy. And he was CEO at a tough time for the company (surging competition), so not everything under his watch was his fault. And Surface started under him. But he ain't no Nadella. It's like a totally different company now. For Christ's sake, even the browser is good!
  • I should be working but I just looked up Ballmer and ... he's worth $93B. WTF. Now how can I concentrate?
  • Are you saying you don't have a cool $XX billion lying around?
  • That, and Ballmer makes Carly Fiorina look like Steve Jobs (assuming his money mostly comes from his time as MS CEO. a lot of it is probably capital gains since Nadella took charge...).
  • This is really great. Now please move the guy that runs that. Surface. Department and make him the c e o.
  • Congratulations to Mr. Nadella.
  • So he can screw over the consumers even more. Bad news.
  • It's so sad he hurt your feelings.