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Microsoft names CEO Satya Nadella as chairman

By Michelle Toh, CNN Business

Satya Nadella is now even more powerful at Microsoft.

The tech giant’s CEO was named chairman of the board Wednesday, elevating his current role atop one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Nadella, who has served as chief executive since 2014, has helped transform the PC maker into a leader in cloud computing in recent years, resulting in blockbuster earnings and a market cap of close to $2 trillion.

Microsoft said in a statement that Nadella had been “unanimously elected” to replace John Thompson in the position.

The news comes as the company grapples with the aftermath of a probe involving its co-founder.

Last month, news emerged of an affair between Bill Gates and an employee in 2000. Gates’ representatives have acknowledged the relationship, which reportedly took place while he was chairman of the board.

Microsoft’s board has said that it launched an investigation into the matter two years ago. Gates left the board in early 2020, though a spokesperson for the billionaire has said that the decision was unrelated to the probe.

The allegations came just under two weeks after the announcement of Gates’ divorce from his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates.

Since then, Microsoft has faced intense scrutiny over its workplace culture.

On Wednesday, an activist investor urged the tech giant to do more to combat sexual harassment following the allegations, saying it should examine “the culture set by top leadership.”

In a shareholder resolution, impact investment firm Arjuna Capital called on Microsoft to release an annual transparency report detailing its sexual harassment policies and investigations into alleged incidents across the company.

Microsoft declined to comment on the resolution.

Nadella has personally addressed the allegations against Gates, saying in an interview with CNBC last month that “the Microsoft of 2021 is very different from the Microsoft of 2000.”

“To me and to everyone at Microsoft, our focus on our culture, our diversity, our inclusion, in particular, the everyday experience of our people is super important,” he added.

— Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.

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