Microsoft Corp.’s record-breaking rally, fueled by its advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), has catapulted the company’s stock to new heights and boosted CEO Satya Nadella’s total earnings from the tech behemoth beyond the billion-dollar mark.
The milestone includes all payouts Nadella has received from Microsoft, as disclosed in regulatory filings. These consist of equity grants, salary, bonuses, and dividends. The payout has been bolstered significantly by Microsoft shares’ remarkable performance, which have soared by more than 1,000% since Nadella assumed the CEO position.
While it remains uncertain what Nadella has done with these earnings, Bloomberg’s calculation doesn’t take into account any expenditures or private investments. Regulatory filings indicate that Nadella has gifted shares worth $20 million over time, although the beneficiaries remain undisclosed.
Nadella, who took the helm at Microsoft in 2014, led the company through a transformative period when many doubted its future potential. Today, Microsoft ranks as the world’s second-largest company and is viewed as the leading contender in the burgeoning field of AI.
Arguably, Nadella’s most impactful move was the company’s multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI and its ChatGPT bot, referred to by a senior executive as a “Windows 95 moment”. This decision thrust Microsoft ahead of rivals like Alphabet Inc. in AI capabilities and primarily drives the stock’s 50% surge this year.
Nadella’s success story parallels Apple CEO Tim Cook’s trajectory. Both leaders took the reins of highly successful companies at crucial turning points and successfully navigated the challenges of their predecessors’ formidable legacies. Nine years into his tenure as CEO, Cook also achieved billionaire status.
A substantial portion of Nadella’s earnings comes from a series of equity grants awarded over the years. The payouts are tied both to his continued service and performance targets, and Nadella has periodically sold some of the shares.
Nadella’s accomplishments highlight the remarkable transformation of Microsoft over the past decade. When he assumed the CEO role, many perceived Microsoft as a once-dominant company struggling to remain relevant in the mobile era. The task of charting a new course fell to Nadella, a Hyderabad, India native, with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, who joined Microsoft in 1992.
After working on business software and services for much of his career, and earning an MBA from the University of Chicago through weekend classes, Nadella ascended through various leadership roles to become the president of Microsoft’s server business. He was eventually selected as CEO after an extensive selection process involving several internal and external candidates.
This achievement solidifies Nadella as part of an exclusive club of corporate titans who’ve amassed 10-figure payouts from their employers and underscores his pivotal role in revitalizing Microsoft.