Why he matters: This humble, Hyderabad-born honcho is an inspiration to many the world over, having rewritten the rules of corporate success since taking charge of Microsoft in 2014.
When he took over as CEO of Microsoft in 2014, 55-year-old Satya Nadella was catapulted into the growing list of Indian-origin business icons dominating global enterprise. As the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies, the Hyderabad native has become an aspirational figure for Indians at home and abroad, hoping to achieve success in the highest echelons of corporate America.
His down-to-earth, approachable leadership style has won him legions of admirers. At Microsoft, he has overseen the company’s acquisitions of LinkedIn, gaming company Mojang (which owns Minecraft) and, most recently, Activision. Nadella is, indeed, charging full speed ahead on Microsoft’s foray into AI and next-gen search tools.
Nadella famously gave up his US Green Card when he married his wife, Anupama, because her visa application was repeatedly rejected under that category. Instead, he opted for a temporary H-1B visa so she, too, could reside in the US. The couple, who were married in 1992, had three children—two daughters and a son born with cerebral palsy, who passed away last year, at 26.
Highly disciplined, the Microsoft chief wakes up at 7am, meditates for 15 minutes, runs for 30 minutes and ensures eight hours of sleep. His book, Hit Refresh, speaks with candour about his personal life, his career and of building a culture of empathy and consensus.
The Nadellas are huge sports fans, and have invested in a football team, the Seattle Sounders. The cricket-obsessed CEO is also committed to the development of an IPL- style Major League Cricket tournament in the US. And if he succeeds, his sports legacy could far outweigh his leadership of Microsoft!
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