Pride of India

The appointment of Satya Nadella as the chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp is yet another recognition of Indian talent in technology and business. 

He was actually being considered for the top executive position of the iconic software company along with another Indian, Sundar Pichai of Google. The fact that Nadella had his basic technology education from a university in Karnataka will also bring cheer to many. It is not the first time that Indians have reached top technological or managerial positions in ranking international companies. There are others like Indra Nooyi of Pepsico and Anshu Jain of Deutsche Bank who have made a mark as leaders. Many Indians have proved themselves as experts with remarkable domain knowledge of the areas where they work. But it is not specialised knowledge that propels people to top positions. It is a combination of knowledge, leadership power, innovative skills,  personal qualities and interpersonal and communication abilities that makes a top leader. It should be a matter of pride for the country that it has many men and women who meet the most stringent leadership standards of the world.

Though Microsoft is an iconic company, it has lost its edge in many areas and it is for Nadella to give it a new direction and restore its prime status. It still dominates the personal computer market but the arrival of new devices like the smart phone and the tablet has posed a challenge. It is in competition with some of the best technology companies like Apple and Google. Its acquisition of Nokia has given it hardware openings which have to be explored further. A revival of the company will call for tough decisions at the technological and strategy levels.

Nadella is an insider, having been a part of the company for over two decades. He has run its cutting edge cloud computing division and knows its strengths and weaknesses. He may not have the unclouded vision of an outsider who can take an objective look at a company that needs to change. But the fact that the company has chosen him as its future leader after a long search underlines its faith in his abilities. Many start-ups and garage enterprises have grown into corporate giants on the strength of innovative ideas. But to give a fresh momentum to a leader which has stalled on the way  and turn it around is much more difficult. That is the test and challenge for Nadella.

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