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10 things you need to know about Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO

Brad Chacos | Feb. 5, 2014
Satya who? You'll know after reading this. (He loves books and online neuroscience courses!)

5. He has a deep thirst for knowledge
"Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning," he wrote in the same email. "I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things. So family, curiosity and hunger for knowledge all define me."

And in case you were wondering, those online courses include neuroscience classes.

(5.5.) Test cricket
Test cricket matches last up to five days—yes, five days!—and are considered an extreme examination of a player's endurance and abilities (or so Wikipedia tells me). "I love it," Nadella says. "There's so many subplots in it, it's like reading a Russian novel."

6. Bill Gates will be his mentor
Along with the news of Nadella's appointment, Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates is stepping down from his long-term position of Chairman of the board to focus more directly on the company, and help Nadella shape Microsoft's technology and product direction. According to Re/code, Gates will work several full-time days per week at Microsoft, which he hasn't done in many years. Why? Probably because...

7. Nadella doesn't have prior CEO experience
Unlike the rest of the candidates that were rumored to be in the running for the CEO role—Stephen Elop, Alan Mullally, Tony Bates, etc.—Satya Nadella has never been in control of an entire company, though the divisions he oversaw at Microsoft generated far more revenue than most companies could ever dream of.

8. Don't rock the boat
Incoming CEOs usually wait a few months before shaking things up too hard, but don't look for Nadella to make major waves with the major organisational changes recently instituted by Steve Ballmer. Mary Jo Foley interviewed Nadella in December, and reported that he's completely on board with the sweeping "One Microsoft" revamp that divided Microsoft into new, task-focused divisions.

9. Rock the boat, baby
That's not to say Nadella's Microsoft will follow the stodgy status quo, however. In the aftermath of Ballmer's surprise retirement announcement, then-director and now-Microsoft Chairman John Thompson admitted that the board "didn't push Steve to step down, but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster."

Nadella seems to have taken that to heart. In his first email to Microsoft employees, Nadella wrote, "Our industry does not respect tradition—it only respects innovation." Indeed, he went on to say that, "The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things."


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