Satya Nadella is replacing John Thompson as chairman of Microsoft’s board, in addition to his role as CEO.
John Thompson is the former CEO of Symantec, and joined Microsoft’s board in 2012. He initially held the role of lead independent director, from 2012 to 2014, when he became chairman.
The board has now voted to make Nadella chairman, while Thompson will return to being lead independent director. The move is no doubt an acknowledgement of Nadella’s role in making Microsoft the powerhouse it is today.
During his tenure, Microsoft has pivoted, from focusing on its operating system and office software, to a heavy emphasis on cloud computing, coming in only behind AWS in the market. The company has also focused on making its software and products run on all major platforms, rather than excluding others in favor of Windows.
The board is clearly happy with the job Nadella is doing, and wants him to have an even larger role in strategic decision-making.
In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review. As lead independent director, Thompson will retain significant authority including providing input on behalf of the independent directors on board agendas, calling meetings of the independent directors, setting agendas for executive sessions, and leading performance evaluations of the CEO.