Many popular writers are reporting on the appointment of Satya Nadella as the new Microsoft® CEO. Most of them have chosen to focus on Mr. Nadella’s expertise as the leader of Microsoft’s cloud products group. But Mr. Nadella’s responsibilities also include the role of head of the enterprise products group. Server sales for this group were some of the most profitable business the company generated in its latest quarter.
Microsoft® has introduced Satya Nadella to the world via a web page titled Satya Nadella. Anyone with an interest in the company should visit the page, and, in particular, take a few moments to watch each of the four videos included on it.
The longest of these videos is an interview with Mr. Nadella. The other three videos provide personal opinions about Mr. Nadella’s appointment as the new CEO of the company from Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, and John Thompson, the new Chairman of the Board.
When I watched the interview with Mr. Nadella, I was most taken not by the mention of the importance of the cloud and mobile computing as markets Microsoft has somehow overlooked, or failed to address successfully. Rather, I was taken by his focus on the pressing need to renovate the organizational structure of this very large business, soon to employ 160K people across the world (once the acquisition of the Nokia handset business is finally completed).
The point I got clearer than any other was Mr. Nadella’s perception of the near term imperative of liberating the potential for technical products/services innovation. Somehow the organizational structure of this business has stifled innovation. Mr. Nadella seems determined to change the structure. At the same time, he is also clearly interested in making Microsoft a more enjoyable place to work.
So the takeaway for me, about the most pressing needs the business faces, is the need for organizational change. The board of directors has chosen to address these needs through the appointment of Mr. Nadella.
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