Satya Nadella biography: The salary and career history of Microsoft's new CEO

News 7 Feb, 2014

The lowdown on Satya Nadella's salary, net worth, education and career history

Microsoft has chosen long-time employee Satya Nadella as its new CEO, bringing to a close its five-month search for Steve Ballmer’s replacement.

The engineer has worked for Microsoft since 1992, when he left Sun Microsystems.

Critics consider him a “safe” choice for a company which some claim is in urgent need of a radical management change, as the PC buying slump continues to bite.

Despite dominating the PC landscape for decades, Microsoft has lost ground in recent years to rivals, such as Apple and Samsung, as the mobile revolution has taken off.

Here, we find out a bit more about the new guy in charge of Microsoft.

Full name: Satyanarayana Nadella

Age: 46

Salary: Microsoft have confirmed in an 8-K filing Nadella will be paid $1.2 million a year as CEO, and will also be eligible for a cash bonus of up to 300 per cent a year. This equates to an extra $3.6 million.

His base salary is around 70 per cent higher than what the previous CEO, Steve Ballmer, received.

Ballmer was reportedly paid $700,000 a year during his 14-year rein.

In Nadella's previous role, Microsoft reportedly paid him $669,167 as a base salary plus stock bonuses which add up to $7.6 million. And that’s just for 2013.

Education and skills: Nadella hails from Hyderabad, India. He graduated from the University of Mangalore with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering before continuing his education in the United States.

You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.

He earned two more masters' degrees: one in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, and another in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Nadella worked at Sun Microsystems until 1992, when he joined Microsoft.

A Microsoft mainstay: Since joining the Redmond giant in 1992,  Nadella has moved between departments every few years.

“This journey has both kept me on my toes and constantly motivated,” he told the Deccan Chronicle, an Indian English-language newspaper.

For instance, he served as vice president of the Microsoft Business Division, senior vice president of research and development for the Online Services division (2009 to 2011), and president of the software giant’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business (2011 to 2013).

Cloudy credentials: Nadella’s work led him to his most recent role as executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise group. His official biography lists him as in charge of “building and running the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services.”

In this position, he’s been credited with shaping Microsoft’s Cloud OS strategy, the backend system for its online services.

Cloud OS helps run Microsoft services like Bing, SkyDrive, Xbox Live, Windows Server, and Visual Studio. These services, especially Office, rank among Microsoft’s strongest.

Industry reaction: Analysts seem to consider Nadella a safe pair of hands, and someone who’s unlikely to change Microsoft’s direction too much.

“He is the right person to drive safe, right down the middle of the fairway, and continue Microsoft's strengths,” Rajeev Chand, research head of a tech investment bank, told India’s Economic Times. “What we don't know is will Nadella help with the consumer revival, or with the mobile revival. Mobile is an open hole in his background.”

Choosing a man with little mobile experience to lead a company in dire need of a mobile strategy may seem inadvisable. Nadella, however, has shown an aptitude for adapting to new environments in the past by changing jobs every few years.

“Always keep learning,” he told the Deccan Chronicle. “You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.”