(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. named Satya Nadella chief executive officer, tapping an insider steeped in business technology to speed up a turnaround at a software maker that helped usher in the personal-computing age, only to be left behind as the world embraced the Web and mobile devices.
Nadella, 46, is replacing Steve Ballmer effective immediately after a five-month search, Microsoft said in a statement today. Bill Gates, the company’s first CEO, will step aside as chairman, devote more time to product development as a director and continue running his philanthropic foundation. John Thompson, the director who led the CEO search, becomes chairman.
The new CEO, who was born in India and joined Microsoft in 1992, takes over at a critical juncture. Consumers and businesses are shunning PCs in favor of handheld devices made by rivals, sapping demand for Microsoft’s flagship products. Besides playing catchup to the likes of Apple Inc. and Google Inc., Nadella will be tasked with completing strategy changes, begun by Ballmer last year. That includes integrating the $7.2 billion integration of Nokia Oyj’s handset unit and turning Microsoft into a provider of services and hardware.
“He’s really the complete package -- he has incredible intellect but he also combines that with a deep curiosity and willingness to learn,” said Doug Burgum, who sold business- software developer Great Plains to Microsoft in 2001 and oversaw Nadella while at the Redmond, Washington-based company.
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