Life and career biography of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella took over the reins of Microsoft in 2014 during a time of turmoil for the company. Since then, Nadella has implemented a variety of changes to the company, which has seen a massive improvement in stock position since the change of power. Through open-source software projects, partnering with competitors, scaling back on first-party mobile ambitions, and centering the company around one main mission, Microsoft has held its spot as major tech competitor.

Learn all about Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the engineer and businessman behind the company’s resurgence.

Where is Satya Nadella from?

Satya Nadella was born in Hyderabad, India on Aug. 19, 1967. In 1984, Nadella traveled to the United States to study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He now lives in Bellevue, Washington, which is a city located across Lake Washington from Seattle. Microsoft’s headquarters is in Redmond, Washington, but the company also has offices in Bellevue.

What is Satya Nadella’s net worth?

In February, CNBC estimated Nadella’s networth to be a little over $320 million.

Satya Nadella’s career path

Sun Microsystems

sun microsystems

Nadella began his post-college career at Sun Microsystems, a company that sold computers, software, and information technology services. The company was acquired by the Oracle Corporation on Jan. 7, 2010 for $7.4 billion.



Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 as a young engineer when Bill Gates was still CEO. His first projects at the company included the unsuccessful interactive-TV product and the Windows NT operating system.

Nadella secured his first executive role in 2000 as vice president of Microsoft bCentral, which was a set of web services for small businesses that included hosted website-hosting and email.

In 2001 Nadella got a promotion to corporate Vice President of Microsoft Business Solutions. This group was formed through a number of acquisitions, including Great Plains, a company that made accounting software for small and midsize businesses. The group was also working on a project to build a cloud-based CRM. These products were eventually rebranded as “Dynamics.”

By 2007 Nadella was the senior Vice President of Microsoft Online Services, which not only put him in charge of Bing but the early versions of Microsoft Office and Xbox Live as well.

In February 2011 Nadella was promoted to president of the Server and Tools Division, which oversaw products for companies’ data centers like Windows Server and the SQL Server database. This department also oversaw the Azure cloud platform. When he took over this area it was doing $16.6 billion in revenue. In two years, by 2013, Nadella raised that number to $20.3 billion.

Nadella officially became CEO of the company on Feb. 4, 2014, after the previous head, Steve Ballmer, announced his resignation in August 2013. Ballmer and Bill Gates picked Nadella to pull the company up from the hard times that had hit.

Nadella swept in and enacted swift changes to the company. Examples of big changes include:

  1. Embracing Linux operating system (a rival) on the Azure cloud
  2. Releasing Microsoft Office for Apple’s iPad
  3. Buying Mojang (the company that created Minecraft)
  4. Releasing iPhone and Android apps like Microsoft Outlook
  5. Skipping Windows 9 and releasing an extremely improved Windows 10
  6. Introducing the company’s first laptop (Microsoft Surface Book)
  7. Aligning the company behind one mission, which is to empower companies and individuals to achieve more

Nadella is a board member of Fred Hutch and Starbucks and a member of the board of trustees at the University of Chicago.

Satya Nadella’s education history

Nadella attended the  Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet before going on to the Manipal Institute of Technology, which was then part of Mangalore University, in Karnataka. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the university in 1988.

Nadella then earned his master’s of science in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990. He later received his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Satya Nadella’s family

Nadella married his wife,  Anupama, in 1992. Anupama is the daughter of Nadella’s father’s Indian Administrative Service batchmate. The couple has three children, one son named Zain and two daughters.

“Hit Refresh” by Satya Nadella

hit refresh

In 2017 Nadella released his first book, “Hit Refresh.” The book’s descriptions states that it’s about “the quest to rediscover Microsoft’s soul and imagine a better future for everyone.”

“At the core, ‘Hit Refresh,’ is about us humans and the unique quality we call empathy, which will become ever more valuable in a world where the torrent of technology will disrupt the status quo like never before,” Nadella wrote in the book.

“Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology while also facing up to the hard questions,” wrote Bill Gates in the foreword of the book.

  • “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” by Kai-Fu Lee
  • “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall B. Rosenberg
  • “The Great Convergence” by Richard Baldwin
  • “Deep Learning” by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, Aaron Courville
  • “The Great Transformation” by Karl Polanyi
  • “The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War” by Robert J. Gordon
  • “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown
  • “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson
  • “Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality” by Jaron Lanier
  • “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond
  • “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

Best Satya Nadella quotes

About being a leader

satya nadella

“There is something only a CEO uniquely can do, which is set that tone, which can then capture the soul of the collective.”

“A leader must see the external opportunities and the internal capability and culture, and all of the connections among them and respond to them before they become obvious parts of the conventional wisdom.”

About innovation

“If you don’t have a real stake in the new, then just surviving on the old – even if it is about efficiency – I don’t think is a long-term game.”

“Longevity in this business is about being able to reinvent yourself or invent the future.”

About success

“Success can cause people to unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.”

“Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn. So the last part to me is the key, especially if you have had some initial success. It becomes even more critical that you have the learning ‘bit’ always switched on.”

About life

“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

“We needed to convert Nietzsche’s courage in the face of reality, into courage in the face of opportunity.”

About technology

“We needed to build deeper empathy for our customers and their unarticulated and unmet needs. It was time to hit refresh.”

“Technologies will come and go, so you need to be able to both ask and answer the question: What do you do as a company, why do you exist?”