On the day last August that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unexpectedly announced that he would retire, the company’s shares responded by rising 7%, the ultimate indignity for a departing CEO and a stinging rebuke of his 14-year tenure. Earlier this week Microsoft (MSFT) appointed Ballmer’s successor, Satya Nadella, who previously led the firm’s massively profitable enterprise business as well as its fast-growing cloud computing group. At the same time, founder Bill Gates ceded his role as chairman to director John Thompson and assumed the position of technical advisor to Nadella.
In a poll conducted earlier this week in the CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief, we asked readers what they thought of the appointment of Satya Nadella as the new CEO of Microsoft.
Approximately 40% of respondents to our global poll view Nadella’s appointment as a favorable development for the company’s investors, betting that the 22-year Microsoft veteran’s familiarity with the company’s culture and breadth of experience will allow him to strike the right balance between strategic continuity and innovation. Also, with Gates returning to a more active role, Nadella is seen by many as a safe choice, assuming he is able to chart his own course.
About 11% of respondents see Nadella’s appointment in a negative light, possibly sharing the concerns of some observers that Microsoft needed an external change agent, and an insider is likely to follow the same trend-following business strategies for which the company has long been criticized. Nearly half of respondents, 49%, are reserving judgment, perhaps waiting to see how Nadella goes about transforming the sleepy software giant into a more nimble competitor in the post-PC world.
What do you think? Did Microsoft make the right decision?
Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.
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