Microsoft's Satya Nadella is CEO of the year following his heavy investment in generative AI

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Smiling
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's Satya Nadella was recently named as the CEO of the year by CNN Business' writers and editors.
  • The outlet disclosed that the nomination process is highly subjective to the emerging trend of the year.
  • Microsoft's heavy investment in generative AI placed its CEO at the top of the list, ahead of OpenAI, Chase, and NVIDIA.
  • The Redmond giant has received multiple awards in December, including that of the best-managed company for four years consecutively.  

As we edge closer to the end of 2023 (what many might refer to as the year of AI in the tech world), Microsoft has been hitting the headlines hard for all the right reasons. This month alone, Microsoft has garnered multiple awards, including the best-managed company for four years consecutively, top 20 companies for internships, and more. 

Many organizations are gravitating towards generative AI, and going as far as integrating the technology into their products and services. Of course, Microsoft hasn't been shy about this as it has practically incorporated the technology across its entire ecosystem, including Windows. This is especially after the company decided to make a multi-billion dollar investment in the technology.

Following the company's keen focus and interest in the emerging AI trend, CNN Business named Microsoft's Satya Nadella as the CEO of the year. However, it was a tight race with OpenAI's just-reappointed CEO Sam Altman, Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and NVIDIA's Jensen Huang among the top contenders.

CNN Business disclosed that its team of writers and editors has been meeting up every year since 2018 to nominate a CEO who has displayed quality leadership and management skills, The outlet further disclosed that the criteria used to come to this decision changes every year, thus making the entire process subjective to the emerging trend. As is the case this year with generative AI. 

While responding to CNN Business, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella shared the following sentiments:

There’s no question 2023 was the year of AI. We’re no longer just talking about innovation in the abstract; we’re seeing real product-making, deployment, and productivity gains. At the end of the day, though, this innovation will only be useful if it’s empowering all of us in our careers, in our communities, in our countries.

Satya Nadella

Interestingly, the outlet also pointed out that the CEO of the year happened to be a man yet again, citing a major problem affecting corporate America's top positions. In fact, out of the Fortune 500 companies, only 10% are led by women.

Satya Nadella's super secret for success at Microsoft

Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO

(Image credit: Microsoft | Windows Central)

A little over a month ago, I highlighted Satya Nadella's impressive trajectory to CEO at Microsoft, highlighting his humble beginnings at the company as an Excel product demonstrator. But many wonder what his secret is to the immense success he continues to enjoy at the helm of Microsoft.

Over the years, Satya Nadella has shared subtle hints that could potentially have a direct relation to his success. In an interview earlier this year, the top executive highlighted his leadership skills after taking up the lead position at the tech firm from the founder as his most remarkable win.

We needed to run the company as a team of senior leaders who are accountable to the entire company. And even the senior leaders cannot be isolated, they need to be grounded. So we found a way to be able to work together. There used to be this characterization, this caricature of Microsoft as a bunch of silos – which I thought was unfair. We were able to debunk that by showing that we are one team working together, flexible in our own ways but very fixed on our outcome goals. And that, I think, was probably the most important thing.

Satya Nadella

Admittedly, his journey hasn't been a walk in the park entirely. He recounts pulling the plug on Windows Phone in its glory days as a strategic mistake, and overall his biggest mistake during his tenure thus far. 

Microsoft's CEO has also mentioned the importance of having empathy as one of the main skills while trying to run a company successfully. He indicated that he was able to build and improve on this skill while raising his son, Zain Nadella, who suffered from asphyxia in utero, leaving him with cerebral palsy. Unfortunately, Satya lost his son early last year, and this was a turning point for him as it completely reshaped Satya's outlook on life, as it is no easy undertaking. 

Satya has pointed out that empathy is a vital skill at work, and it plays a more crucial role in career development.

Empathy is not a soft skill. In fact, it's the hardest skill we learn — to relate to the world, to relate to people that matter the most to us.

Satya Nadella

The CEO has also pointed out that retirement isn't in his immediate future, as he is still working on several projects that require his undivided attention. However, he pointed out that he is fully trusting in the board of directors to pick a suitable candidate to replace him when the time comes. 

Satya also indicated that he'll be remembered for his contributions at Microsoft over the years, but his recent AI ventures will top the crown. He added that it's entirely up to the people to choose what they'd like to remember him for.

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Kevin Okemwa
Contributor

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.