After the announcement that Steve Ballmer will be stepping down as CEO of Microsoft I immediately put all my cards on a single individual as Ballmer's replacement. And, while there has been a lot of speculation in the media about different individuals I believe a single person is starting to emerge – and that person is the one I already deemed worthy enough to take the top spot at Microsoft.
Satya Nadella, the current Executive VP for Cloud and Enterprise, is my pick.
With the release of Windows 8.1 and a horde of other products releasing on October 18th, 2013, Satya is the only single individual that is in the media. Acting very CEO-like, Satya has been part of a media push over the last week or so announcing the upcoming release of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2. The R2 products represent a very important release for Microsoft. The updated "services" move Microsoft further along their Cloud roadmap than even Windows 8.1 does.
Satya definitely understands the services part of Microsoft's changing business, and he definitely understands the business side of Microsoft. Microsoft has recently reported that 58% of total revenue comes from the Enterprise business, of which Satya is commander in chief.
But, even more on target, Sayta has moved beyond the marketing walls of Microsoft's press releases and blogs to give an interview to Quentin Hardy of the New York Times. In the interview, Satya continues to look CEO-like, giving direct statements suggesting that Windows Server and Windows Azure are two separate operating systems and that the old business (Windows) is stagnate, while the new business (Windows Azure) is Microsoft's push forward. He recognizes the disconnect Microsoft created between consumers and Windows 8 and the failings Microsoft has had with mobile and tablets.
These are all things a good CEO would say.
You can read the NYT interview here: Microsoft: The Cloud Can’t Be Slave to the Past
Again, Satya is seen as standing alone. No other rumored CEO candidate is emerging quite the way Satya is.
I'm keeping my bets on Satya for the moment.