Microsoft Corp on Wednesday appointed Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella as its new chairman, strengthening his influence at the world’s largest software maker after over seven years as the top executive. A 50-year-old Nadella will be succeeding John Thompson
Thompson will return to the role of lead independent director, a position he held before being named chairman in 2014, Microsoft said Wednesday in a statement. The company declared a quarterly dividend of 56 cents per share payable on Sept. 9.
According to The Verge, it is the first time in two decades that Microsoft’s chairman will also be its CEO, after the software giant’s co-founder Bill Gates originally stepped down as CEO in 2000.
Nadella, who took over as CEO in 2014 from Steve Ballmer, has been instrumental in scaling up its business including billion-dollar acquisitions like LinkedIn, Nuance Communications and ZeniMax.
When Nadella took the CEO job, Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the company he co-founded, significantly reducing his role at Microsoft, and Thompson was tapped to replace him.
Nadella, the company’s third CEO, will also be the third chairman in Microsoft’s history, following Gates and Thompson.
Fecovering from failures in the mobile phone and internet search market to waning of the importance of its flagship Windows operating system, Microsoft has undergone a rebirth during Nadella’s leadership.
The company’s shares have soared more than sevenfold and its market value is approaching $2 trillion as Microsoft has been restored to the ranks of the top technology companies.