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Can Nadella Stand Up to Bill Gates?

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella has acknowledged during the process of selecting who would replace Steve Ballmer that he asked Bill Gates to come back and dedicate time to key initiatives.

Skeptics may argue that of course he's going to say that. In actuality it could have been either Gates or the board who really made the call. But in any case Nadella appears comfortable with the arrangement. In what was billed as the first interview Nadella has given since he was named CEO earlier this month, he told The New York Times he's prepared to push back with Gates if he feels it's warranted. Nadella said he knows how to handle Gates.

"He's actually quite grounded," Nadella told The Times. "You can push back on him. He'll argue with you vigorously for a couple of minutes, and then he'll be the first person to say, 'Oh, you're right.' Both Bill and Steve share this. They pressure-test you. They test your conviction."

Nadella also said that he's aware of the challenges facing Microsoft and acknowledges that the historically mighty powers do fall from grace. "One of the things that I'm fascinated about generally is the rise and fall of everything, from civilizations to families to companies," he said. "We all know the mortality of companies is less than human beings. There are very few examples of even 100-year-old companies. For us to be a 100-year-old company where people find deep meaning at work, that's the quest."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/21/2014 at 10:43 AM


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