UWM alumnus in line to be next CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft Corp.’s board is preparing to make Satya Nadella, the company’s enterprise and cloud chief and a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee alumnus, its next chief executive officer, according to multiple published media reports.

Microsoft also discussing replacing Bill Gates as chairman, according to people with knowledge of the process.

Nadella, 46, has emerged as one of the stronger candidates to replace departing CEO Steve Ballmer, 57, according to Bloomberg News and Reuters, which cited people familiar with the search.

Nadella graduated from UWM in 1990 with a master’s degree in computer science. Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group builds and runs the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. Nadella received the UWM Chancellor’s Innovator Award in 2013.

Microsoft has only had two CEOs – Gates and Ballmer – in its history. In turning to Nadella, the company would get an enterprise-technology veteran who joined Microsoft in 1992 and has had leadership roles in cloud services, server software, Internet search and business applications.

As president of Microsoft’s server business, Nadella boosted revenue to $20.3 billion in the fiscal year through June, up from $16.6 billion when he took over in 2011. That unit became cloud and enterprise when Ballmer overhauled Microsoft’s structure in July to focus the company on devices and services.

A native of Hyderabad, India, Nadella also has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Mangalore University and an master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago. He worked in Sun Microsystems’ Chicago office before joining Microsoft.

“He’s a solid choice,” offering continuity of strategy and proven execution, said Sid Parakh, an analyst at fund firm McAdams Wright Ragen.

Microsoft declined to comment.

If he is selected for the post, Nadella would join Target Corp. CEO Gregg Steinhafel and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer among the ranks of high-profile executives with Wisconsin roots.

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