Microsoft Names CEO Satya Nadella As New Chairman

John Thompson, who took over as chairman from the software giant's co-founder Bill Gates in 2014, will serve as a lead independent director 

Microsoft Corp on Wednesday has named CEO Satya Nadella as its new chairman, in place of John Thompson.

The company said Thompson, who took over as chairman from the software giant's co-founder Bill Gates in 2014, will serve as lead independent director, reports Reuters.

Nadella, who took over as CEO in 2014 from Steve Ballmer, made Microsoft more relevant in a new tech world led by mobile-focused rivals such as Apple and Google, by scaling up its business including billion-dollar acquisitions like LinkedIn, Nuance Communications and ZeniMax.

Early in his tenure, Nadella, 53, ordered a massive reorganization, cutting some 18,000 jobs -- or 14% of the workforce -- under a plan aimed at simplifying the corporate structure and integrating the mobile division of Finland's Nokia, reports AFP.

He made a priority of cloud computing, which has become a lucrative growth engine at the tech giant based in the Washington state city of Redmond.

Microsoft next week is to unveil a new generation of its Windows operating system, which market trackers say powers nearly three-quarters of the world's desktop computers.

Microsoft built its empire on software such as Windows and Office -- licensed to computer makers or sold in packages for installation on machines in homes or workplaces.

Under Nadella, Microsoft has put more focus on renting software and services hosted at datacenters in the computing cloud, bulking up its Azure platform.

The top-level executive change comes just over a year after Gates stepped down from the board, saying he would focus on philanthropic works of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world's biggest charities.

The company had last month said it conducted a probe into Gates' involvement with an employee almost 20 years ago after it was told in 2019 that he had tried to start a romantic relationship with the person.

Microsoft had declined to comment on whether its board had decided Gates should go.

The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 56% share payable September 9.