Satya Nadella emerging as likely Microsoft chief: Reports

Satya NadellaAccording to sources close to Microsoft's CEO search, the company is likely to name Indian-origin executive Satya Nadella, the current enterprise and cloud chief, as the successor to Steve Ballmer, even as there was talk that Bill Gates might be replaced as Microsoft's chairman of the board.

Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson would probably take Gates' place, which would see the Microsoft co-founder getting more involved with the company in areas such as product development. However there was speculation that if Microsoft hired a CEO from inside, the company might look for a new chairman from outside.

Though the plans at present are not final, Nadella's candidacy grew stronger several weeks ago. The 46-year old joined former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft executive vice president Tony Bates and COO Kevin Turner on the list of possible candidates.

According to Bloomberg, Nadella, during his stint as Microsoft's server business president, boosted revenue to $20.3 billion in the fiscal year through June, up from $16.6 billion when he took the position in 2011. The unit became cloud and enterprise during Ballmer's company restructuring last summer.

According to tech news website Recode, Nadella was the likeliest candidate given his familiarity with the company, his strong technical background, and having spent most of his career within the company.

However, two other insiders – Bates and Elop – had not been told that they were out of the running, which meant the committee still had not made a final decision.

However, even as the search seems to be coming to a close, a number of people inside and outside Microsoft still believed the committee might opt for an outsider to take over. But Ford's Alan Mulally, Qualcomm's Steve Mollenkopf and Ericsson's Hans Vestberg went out of the reckoning when they made it clear they did not want the job.

Nadella, though, remains little-known even as he could soon become one of the most powerful tech leaders in the world.

Who is Satya Nadella?
Hyderabad-born Nadella is currently the executive vice president for Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, a role in which he built up and successfully ran the company's cloud, enterprise and tools business.

Nadella attended Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet and gained his bachelor's engineering degree from Manipal University. He went on to do MS in computer science from Wisconsin University and an MBA from University of Chicago.

After working with Sun, Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and has worked on Microsoft's Bing search engine and built up the firm's cloud-based Azure service.

According to the company's second quarter results announced last week, the cloud services, headed by Nadella, had grown 107 per cent year-on-year.

According to analysts, Nadella's reputation as the company's ''cloud guru'' might have worked in his favour as Microsoft sought to focus on an area where rivals such as Google had taken a clear lead.

His selection would see him become the third CEO of the US tech major after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.