scorecardSatya Nadella hits refresh – from Hyderabad to Microsoft CEO to Padma awardee
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Satya Nadella hits refresh – from Hyderabad to Microsoft CEO to Padma awardee

Satya Nadella hits refresh – from Hyderabad to Microsoft CEO to Padma awardee
LifeThelife3 min read
  • Microsoft CEO and chairman Satya Nadella received the Padma Bhushan award from the Indian Consul General in San Francisco.
  • Nadella was born in a family of professionals and now heads one of the few trillion-dollar companies of the world.
  • Nadella has been with Microsoft for nearly two-thirds of the company’s existence.
Satya Nadella has an unassuming demeanor for a CEO of one of the few trillion-dollar companies in the world. Now, this Hyderabad-born IAS officer’s son has received the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award from India’s Consul General in San Francisco, Dr T V Nagendra Prasad.

Nadella is the only third CEO of Microsoft after the company’s founder Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer. He is credited with revolutionizing Microsoft’s cloud business, from lagging behind Amazon to bagging multi-billion dollar US Defense Department’s contracts.

Nadella was appointed Microsoft’s CEO – the third in the company’s 47-year-old history – in 2014. Earlier in 2021, he was also appointed as the company’s chairman, making him responsible for setting the tone for Microsoft’s future.

Nadella was awarded the Padma Bhushan along with other IT veterans – Tata Sons’ CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran, and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Nadella says he will visit India in January next year, according to a PTI report.

Born in a family of professionals

Born in Hyderabad in 1967, Satya Narayana Nadella came from a family of professionals. His father, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, was an IAS officer while his mother, Prabhavati, was a Sanskrit lecturer.

Nadella started his journey in one of Hyderabad’s illustrious schools, the Hyderabad Public School. Like many students, Nadella opted for engineering – he got his electrical engineering degree from Mangalore University in 1988. He went on to do his master’s in computer science from the University of Wisconsin in 1990.

Nadella married Anupama Nadella in 1992, and has three children.

Nadella’s journey sounds like a typical South Indian’s – an engineering degree and work for a tech company. Soon after finishing his master’s in the US in 1990, Nadella worked for Sun Microsystems for two years before landing a job at Microsoft in 1992.

Nadella’s Microsoft journey – from a developer to the chairman

Nadella’s rise to the top echelons of Microsoft started with him being scooped up by the Windows-maker from Sun Microsystems in 1992. Nadella joined the company as a Windows NT developer and from thereon, he rose in the ranks of Microsoft's divisions catering to businesses.

In 2007, Nadella was appointed as the vice president of Microsoft’s research and development department. He was elevated as the president of the company’s server business in 2011, which accounted for $19 billion of the company’s revenue.

In 2014, after being appointed as the CEO, one of his first moves was to acquire Nokia’s phone business for $7.2 billion – a move that would eventually falter.

Under Nadella’s watch, Microsoft’s market capitalisation has surged over 5x – from $310 billion in 2014 to $1.76 trillion now. Nadella has remained with the Windows-maker for three decades now – or nearly two-thirds of the company’s history.

The networth of Nadella is at ₹6,200 crore, according to IIFL Hurun India Rich List 2022.

Beyond Microsoft

Nadella’s life beyond Microsoft includes being a board trustee of University of Chicago and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is also on the board of Starbucks.

Before being awarded the Padma Bhushan, Nadella was named on the Time 100 list in 2018, and businessperson of the year by Financial Times and Fortune magazine in 2019.

Nadella also authored Hit Refresh, a book on his life and his leadership learnings at Microsoft, with Greg Shaw and Jill Tracie Nichols.

Other business leaders who’ve been honoured with Padma awards

The Indian government has awarded several business leaders with Padma awards. The list includes big names like Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, M&M’s Anand Mahindra, TVS’ Venu Srinivasan, and Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella, among others.

Another notable person on the list is Ryuko Hira, a Japanese businessman who is known for playing a crucial role in bringing Japanese investments to India.


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