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United Kingdom 06/02

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Nadella New MS CEO; Gates Out as Chairman

Microsoft has named Satya Nadella as its new CEO to replace departing Steve Ballmer, also announcing that Bill Gates is stepping down from his role as chairman of the MS board of directors, to be replaced by former Symantec CEO John Thompson. Nadella is a 22 year vet at Microsoft, and word is that Gates will work closely with the new CEO in a new technology adviser role. "I couldn't be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company," Nadella said in a statement. "The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform." Here's a take on this from CNN Money:

Many think that Nadella is somewhat of a safe choice for Microsoft. He is personable, and well-liked at Microsoft and within the technology world at large. But he isn't bringing fresh perspective or any outside influence.

In many ways, Microsoft's CEO search was bungled from the start. Ballmer failed to groom an obvious replacement during his 13-year tenure as CEO, and he announced his retirement with no successor in place. The CEO search was filled with leaks to the press, particularly about the desire to hire Ford (F, Fortune 500) CEO Alan Mulally. But the board was seemingly unable to find an outside candidate they could agree upon.

The choice of Nadella seems to be a signal that Microsoft wants to maintain the status quo even though it is a company that many believe needs shaking up.

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