On the day in 2014 when Satya Nadella was named the third-ever
CEO, the software giant’s stock fell 1%. Some investors had hoped the pick would be one of the other leading candidates, such as Alan Mulally, then CEO of
CEO Stephen Elop. Safe to say, the doubters were proved wrong.
This past week, Microsoft’s market cap eclipsed $2 trillion for the first time. The stock has rallied 20% this year, and more than 700% since Nadella took the top job, succeeding Steve Ballmer. In other words, close to 90% of Microsoft’s current value has been generated under Nadella’s leadership, which makes him one of the greatest value-generating corporate leaders of all time.
Nadella, 53, has steered the company to a cloud-first software strategy, dramatically expanding both its Azure public-cloud business and cloud-based versions of Office and other applications. The result has been astonishing growth for the 46-year-old company. In the March quarter, revenue grew 19%, to $41.7 billion. While Microsoft continues to benefit from a big PC business, Nadella figured out early on that the future of software is in the cloud. It is a vision that continues to pay dividends for investors.
Write to Eric J. Savitz at [email protected]