Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks during an interview on The David Rubenstein Show in New York. (Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)

‘Don’t Try To Be Like Us’, Gates And Ballmer Told Nadella When He Took Charge At Microsoft

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella had big shoes to fill when he took charge of the software giant in 2014. The best advice came to him from his predecessors Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

“Their message was - don't try to be like us,” Nadella said in an interview to Carlyle Group co-Founder David Rubenstein on Bloomberg’s Peer to Peer Conversations.

Don’t think you’re preceding these people, just be your own.
Bill Gates And Steve Ballmer To Satya Nadella

During its search for a new CEO, the Microsoft board approached Nadella to take up that role. His response? “Only if you want me to be.” When the board pointed out that, generally an offer like this would make people a little more enthusiastic, Nadella quipped, “That’s not me.”

Nadella met Ballmer soon after and told him about it. “I remember going and talking to Steve about it and he said ‘Yeah, just be yourself. It is too late to change’,” he quipped.

Microsoft’s market value has rose nearly 120 percent since Nadella took over. When asked if this gets him a lot of standing ovations at shareholder meetings, Nadella joked, “No, I get a lot of people asking me to come home and fix their computers.”

Watch the full interview here.