Satya Nadella – An Inspiring Indian American CEO! Guest Author Nirmalya Chatterjee
The list of very successful Indian American CEOs in the United States is long and continues to grow. These people are smart, visionary, and transformative. Many of these leaders inherited their jobs at difficult junctures but took their respective companies to a much higher level from where they started. Indra Nooyi (Pepsico), Sundar Pichai (Google), Niren Chaudhary (Panera Breads), Rajat Gupta (McKinsey), Vivek Sankaran (Albertsons), Amar Bose (Bose Corporation), Arvind Krishna (IBM), Sonya Syngal (Gap) – I can go on but you get my point. These are all impressive companies. Satya Nadella is one such phenomenal Indian American leader who has been running Microsoft since 2014 and producing incredible results. Microsoft shares traded at about $40 when he took over. It is now trading around $225. The market capital of the company has climbed from $300 Billion to about $1700 Billion under his watch.
Just as a brief background, Nadella was born in Hyderabad in 1967. His father was an IAS officer and mother was a Sanskrit professor. He got his engineering degree from Manipal Institute of Engineering in Karnataka. He came to the US and got his Masters in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin and then MBA from the prestigious University of Chicago. His first job was with Sun Microsystem which he left in 1992 and joined Microsoft.
He had an illustrious career during the next 22 years running many of the critical areas of Microsoft business ranging from R&D to client services. But the area that propelled him to great success was cloud computing. Cloud computing is a way for the clients to store their data and processing operations at data centers that are managed by technology companies and delivered through the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. This allowed the clients not having to buy or maintain their own computing infrastructure. He made it a big focus area for Microsoft and started to gain grounds against its giant competitors in this field like Amazon, Google, Oracle, IBM, and many more. His success made him the natural choice in the minds of founder Bill Gates and others for him to succeed Steve Balmer when Balmer decided to step down from the CEO role. That literally started a new journey for Microsoft.
The prestigious Drucker Institute (named after Peter Drucker, the famous management guru) publishes an annual ‘Management Top 250’ ranking. The companies are rated based on five key criteria – Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement & Development, Innovation, Social Responsibility and Financial Strength. Microsoft has just been ranked number one for 2020. This is truly huge for Microsoft & Nadella. The next six companies behind Microsoft are pretty impressive ones – Apple, IBM, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Cisco Systems and Intel – all great technology companies. His leadership in cloud computing has been one of the major factors in Microsoft’s phenomenal success. But that’s not all. He has doubled down on the company’s commitment on corporate culture, social impact and environment. Microsoft has committed to eliminate its carbon emissions within the next decade and will invest a billion dollar for the climate. Moreover, it’s aim is to remove all of the carbon from the environment by 2050 that it has produced since its founding in 1975. Very audacious goal of a great corporate citizen.
You watch Nadella and you see a super smart man and a visionary passionately speaking about the future. You see a sincere man who genuinely cares about his surroundings – the people, the environment, and the society in general. He speaks about the world far beyond the world of Microsoft and cloud computing. He gives you a sense of optimism, a sense of pride in ourselves. Nadella’s legacy as one of the most successful and inspiring leaders is bound to live on well beyond his Microsoft career.
Nirmalya Chatterjee is an 11 year resident of Las Vegas. He is a management consultant for consumer products and the hospitality industry. During his professional career, Nirmalya had several senior levels and ex-pat assignments. He was the Chief Financial Officer for Coors Brewing Company; Vice President of Finance for Las Vegas Sands Corporation; Sr. Vice President of Finance, Galaxy Entertainment Macau; and General Manager of Revlon India. Most recently, Nirmalya served as the Chairman of the Hindu Temple and Jain Center of Las Vegas. Nirmalya holds an MBA from Rutgers University.
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