Global technology giant Microsoft Corp has named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Satya Nadella as its new chairman. Nadella will succeed John Thompson who will now serve as a lead independent director. Thompson in 2014 took over as chairman from the company co-founder Bill Gates.
According to Microsoft, Nadella, 53, who took over as CEO in 2014 from Steve Ballmer, helped the company scale up its cloud-computing business and billion-dollar acquisitions such as LinkedIn, Nuance Communications, and ZeniMax.
The company board has witnessed a slew of changes after Gates last year announced his resignation three months after having been re-elected to the board, saying he would concentrate on philanthropic works of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world's largest private charitable foundations.
Nadella—the Indian-born CEO of Microsoft—transformed the software titan into America's second-largest firm by value after tech giant Apple. At present, Microsoft has a market value of more than $1.9 trillion, and the company's shares have risen over seven-fold.
In his new role, Nadella will head the company 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
The top IT company has also declared a quarterly dividend of 56 cents per share payable on September 9. Last month, Nadella responded to controversies surrounding the behaviour of Gates for the first time, saying the news about the company's billionaire co-founder raised questions about the firm's workplace culture.
“The Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000 to me and to everyone at Microsoft,” Nadella earlier said.