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