Seattle/Hyderabad: Microsoft Corp named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Satya Nadella as new board chairman of the US tech giant.

Nadella, who took over from Steve Ballmer in February 2014, made Microsoft more relevant in a new tech world led by mobile-focused rivals such as Apple and Google.

In his new role, he will guide the agenda "leveraging his deep understanding of the business to elevate the right strategic opportunities and identify key risks," the company said in a post.

Hyderabad-born Nadella, 53, succeeds John Thompson, who will return to the role of lead independent director, a position he held before being named chairman in 2014, Microsoft said Wednesday in a statement. Thompson, 72, has been scaling back his work as chairman over the past few years, Microsoft said. The two have been discussing the new roles since last fall.

When Nadella took the CEO job, Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the company he co-founded, significantly reducing his role at Microsoft and Thompson were tapped to replace him. The idea was that Nadella would benefit from mentoring by Thompson, a technology executive for several decades.

Nadella, the company's third CEO, will also be the third chairman in Microsoft's history, following Gates and Thompson. Steve Ballmer, the CEO before Nadella, never held the chairmanship as Gates kept that title for Ballmer's entire tenure.

Microsoft has undergone a rebirth during Nadella's leadership, recovering from failures in the mobile phone and internet search market, as well as the waning importance of its flagship Windows operating system. Nadella has refocused the company around cloud computing, mobile applications and artificial intelligence while breathing new life into the Office software franchise by shifting it more to the cloud and to other operating systems.

Nadella made a priority of cloud computing, which has become a lucrative growth engine at the tech giant based in the Washington state city of Redmond.

Microsoft next week is to unveil a new generation of its Windows operating system, which market trackers say powers nearly three-quarters of the world's desktop computers.

Microsoft built its empire on software such as Windows and Office -- licensed to computer makers or sold in packages for installation on machines in homes or workplaces.

Under Nadella, Microsoft has put more focus on renting software and services hosted at data centers in the computing cloud, bulking up its Azure platform.

The era of the personal computer was rocked by the rise of smartphones and tablets, but saw a revival of sorts during the pandemic as people geared up homes for remote work, school, and play.

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