We have been following what Microsoft is doing with its CEO role for the past months, starting from Ballmer’s departure. After more than three months, it seems the board of directors have finally found a possible candidate. We are talking about rumours, nothing is certain, but sometimes rumours are more certain than final statements. Apparently Bill Gates will give up his chairman role and Satya Nadella will be the next CEO.
When we were analysing the position left by Steve Ballmer, we said that Microsoft needed to find innovation in its new CEO. A company who has been flat in the past years needs a young and smart tech person who is able to gain the momentum the company has lost during the last decade. Microsoft desperately needs a turnaround strategy such as the one applied by Yahoo with the new CEO, Marissa Mayer.
What we were scared about was that Microsoft was focusing on a manager and not an engineer. Ballmer was a manager, he didn’t have the vision or the ability to understand tech or (Android) and that’s why the company is what it is. That’s why an engineer with an entrepreneurial spirit might be the best solution for the company; for the simple reason that an engineer knows what he/she is talking about.
Managers are good at managing non tech companies and big corporations such as Pepsi and Coca Cola. In the past years, we have seen how beneficial is to have a technical lead that is able to see where the market is going and how to compete. Although engineers are usually good at building things, there is still a small of group of them who has got an entrepreneurial attitude and that’s where this company needs to look at.
Satya Nadella doesn’t fit in the description we made, because he comes from the Microsoft’s ecosystem and he has got more than twenty years of experience in this company. However, that experience and the engineering background might be the two factors that are going to change the company forever. With a degree in electrical engineering, a master in Computer Science and and MBA at the University of Chicago, Nadella knows what he’s talking about.
Satya is a *very* strong pick for CEO. Understands how to build platforms, gets the cloud, and has a solid vision for the future.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) January 30, 2014
Further, Nadella has worked on Bing, Microsoft’s Server and Tools for Business for the last 22 years. This means that the guy has a complete understanding of how Microsoft works and operates, which is what Microsoft needs at the moment. Nevertheless, it doesn’t guarantee he’s going to provide a paradigm shift from the past lead.
What we wonder is if Satya Nadella comes from the Ballmer’s school of thinking or is able to flip the table and all the assets on it. Knowing Microsoft is a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you know it differently from Ballmer. However, even though they might come from the same “school”, Nadella is a shift just for the simple fact that he knows the company, he has built some of its assets, he’s a leader and he knows the meaning of “Computer Science”.
This transition must be led by Bill Gates and Ballmer who deserve to be on the board of directors for the next years. The guys who founded one of the biggest tech corporation ever need to follow the transition from their lead to an internal one carefully. The values and the aims on which they have started the company must be given in the hands of the new CEO.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Bill Gates got more involved in Microsoft, at least for the next 12 months, even though rumours say the opposite. The company is facing a difficult and critical transaction, which needs to be supervised from the guy who founded it. We don’t know what decisions Satya Nadella will take in the next months or even if he’s truly the next CEO, but we’ll be here watching and analysing Microsoft’s behaviour, which has been a little bit tipsy in the past weeks.