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3 Lessons To Learn From Microsoft's New CEO

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on February 06, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Now that Satya Nadella has been named as Microsoft's new CEO, what lessons can companies learn from him?

Besides the fact that Nadella can rock the hell out of the casual chic, tech dad look, his long-time employment at Microsoft and low public profile sets him apart from several of the other tech CEOs.

Here are three lessons to learn from Microsoft's new CEO.

1. Promote from your own ranks. One lesson the new Microsoft CEO appointment can teach tech companies is to promote someone already in your company to the top gun position. Not only does it call for smoother transition, but it could help avoid contractual disputes. Nadella has been with Microsoft since 1992, NBC News reports. With the rapidly changing trends and pace of technology, Nadella has seen Microsoft through several versions of Windows, the release of Internet Explorer, and the new tablets.

Since Nadella was already working for Microsoft, it's unlikely that there will be any breach of contract issues that could arise from other lateral company moves. Remember the hoopla surrounding Marissa Mayer's move from Google to Yahoo? At least Microsoft won't be worried about Nadella spilling any trade secrets to another company.

2. Don't be limited by your past innovations. If you ask someone what Microsoft produces, most people will say software. While it's always a safe game plan to stick to what you're good at, Nadella is more a visionary and could take Microsoft to the next level. In a Quartz interview, Nadella said that "reconceptualizing Microsoft as a devices and services company" is the future vision for the company. This teaches tech (and other) companies that you must always be expanding and repurposing your brand, even if it's not what you're most famous for. Just like techies, attorneys also need to sharpen their understanding of how the laws can be applied to new technology.

3. Diversity matters. The third and perhaps the most important lesson to learn from Nadella's appointment is to consider diversity when hiring your next leader. Nadella was born in India, making him one of the few Fortune 500 CEOs who are non-white. In fact, among Fortune 500 companies, African Americans only make up 1.2 percent of the CEO pool, while Asian and Latinos only make up 1.6 percent respectively, reports Think Progress. With more women joining the CEO club, it's also nice to see other minorities, like Nadella, moving on up the corporate ladder. Although you probably won't encounter any legal issues with hiring another white male as a CEO, it's often beneficial for the company overall to embrace a new cultural perspective.

It'll be interesting to see what Nadella comes up with as the new Microsoft CEO. Former Chairman of the Board Bill Gates will still remain as a technology advisor to the company.

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