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5 things you should know about potential Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

As we reported yesterday, according to Bloomberg, Satya Nadella, executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group at Microsoft, will succeed Steve Ballmer as the next CEO of Microsoft.

Last year, Ballmer announced plans to step down within 12 months while Redmond searched for his replacement. Since then, there has been speculation about high-profile candidates like Ford chief Alan Mulally – but he recently said that he will remain at the car maker. There was also talk about former Nokia chief Stephen Elop and former Skype CEO Tony Bates.

But the rumours now point to Nadella. Not much is known about him, partly because he's had the sort of nose-to-the-grindstone jobs at Microsoft that have left him out of the spotlight.

However, he’s also not particularly active on social media; his Twitter has been ignored since 2010 and his avi is still an egg. But what do we know about him?

1. He didn't stand out early on.

"Truth be told, there was nothing spectacular about Satyanarayana Nadella, registration number 8419218," begins a Times of India story about his college years at Manipal Institute of Technology. The school's director, who taught him 25 years ago, could not recall him but said his records show he was a "first-class student."

2. He's been busy behind the scenes at Microsoft.

He built out Dynamics, the company's customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning business, alongside online services, including Bing, and cloud services.

3. His leadership skills come from what he's learned from his bosses, including Ballmer, and his cricket coach at Hyderabad Public School (HPS).

"Perhaps more than anything, I think playing cricket for HPS taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career," Nadella said in an interview with the Deccan Chronicle. "There was this one particular incident in a match where my school captain noticed I was bowling some really ordinary stuff. He took over the next over himself, got our team the much-needed breakthrough and then threw the ball back to me in the next over! I will never forget that. What made him do that? Is this what they call leadership? These are the kind of questions I have since reflected on as I approach many of the things I do today leading teams."

4. As someone who's gone against Google's lead business, he sees a future that's all about data.

"This notion of being able to collect all data, to be able to reason about data, and have this ambient intelligence that's powering every experience I think is what we will see through in the next 10 years," Nadella said at the LeWeb conference last month.

5. He shares Salman Rushdie's literary tastes.

Nadella likes the book All About H. Hatterr by G.V. Desani. The tale of a man's search for enlightenment was long out of print, though it was praised by Salman Rushdie as the progenitor of modern literature in India.

Image Credit: Flickr (kimjakes482)