Microsoft appoints CEO Satya Nadella as chairman

He's only the second person in the company's history to hold both roles after Bill Gates.

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BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 27: CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella and CEO of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess (not seen) attend a session during their visit to Volkswagen Digital Lab in Berlin, Germany on February 27, 2019. (Photo by Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Microsoft's board has named CEO Satya Nadella as chair, marking the first time a person has held both the positions since the company's co-founder Bill Gates stepped down as chief executive in 2000. 

The change is the latest acknowledgement of the role Nadella has played in revitalizing the tech giant. During his seven-year tenure as CEO, Microsoft has witnessed sharp growth in its Azure cloud computing, productivity and gaming divisions. Nadella has also overseen several successful acquisitions including Minecraft, LinkedIn, GitHub and, more recently, gaming behemoth ZeniMax.

Today, Microsoft is the world's second-most valuable company behind Apple with a market value above $1.9 trillion. 

“In this role, Nadella will lead the work to set the agenda for the board, leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks and mitigation approaches for the board’s review,” Microsoft said in its announcement.

As part of the shuffle, former chair John W. Thompson will return to his role as lead independent director. The move comes a year after Gates stepped down from Microsoft's board amid an investigation into his relationship with a female Microsoft employee, though he still serves as an advisor to Nadella. 

According to the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, the company's board has represented the change as a natural extension of Nadella's leadership, and a move that has been informally discussed since late last year. 

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