Satya Nadella in as Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates Steps Down as Chairman

Satya Nadella, the man in charge of Microsoft's cloud computing services, has been named as the new company CEO. He is taking on the new role immediately, and company founder Bill Gates is stepping down as Chairman to be replaced by John Thompson.

Microsoft's new CEO: Satya NadellaMicrosoft's new CEO: Satya Nadella

Mr. Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and has since been instrumental in the company's servers and tools business, as well as developing the cloud system to support Xbox, Bing, Office and other services. He is taking over for Steve Ballmer who announced his retirement in August 2013.

At the time, Mr. Ballmer said,

There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company's transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.

Presumably, Mr. Nadella is the man Microsoft sees as best suited to complete the transition into the devices and services company Mr. Ballmer envisioned.

Along with the announcement of its new CEO, Microsoft also said that Bill Gates is stepping down as Chairman to serve as the Board's Founder and Technology Advisor. Mr. Thompson, the new Chairman, was previously the lead independent Board director.

With Mr. Nadella at the helm, Microsoft may be able to come out from under the dark cloud of criticism brought on by what has been seen as the leadership failings of Mr. Ballmer. During his tenure, Microsoft remained successful, but suffered from product launch failures such as the Zune media player, and lackluster responses to major Windows updates.

Microsoft has not yet said who will replace Mr. Nadella as Executive Vice President of the company's Cloud and Enterprise group.