Powerful Men of Color


Today marks the day it was officially announced that Satya Nadella (Left) became the new CEO of Microsoft replacing Steve Ballmer and John Thompson (Right) became the new Chairman of the Microsoft Board replacing Bill Gates.  The world is made up of two main groups: white and non-white, or people of color (black, brown, red, yellow).  Whites make up about 1/5 (20%) of the world’s population while people of color make up the other 4/5 (80%).  Yet, beyond the overwhelming number of people of color it is not always the case we see people of color in powerful positions especially in Western and European society.  Even President Barack Obama only recently became the first non-white President of the United States and was much celebrated.  In the same way, I want to celebrate and congratulate these two gentlemen on a job well done and give thanks for helping to re-instill the racial pride we need as a people navigating in a world where the 1/5 dominates and rules the 4/5.

Satya Nadella has spent roughly 22 years at Microsoft and not only has the business acumen but also has technical brilliance.  Formerly the head of Microsoft’s most lucrative business, the “Server and Tools” enterprise business, re-branded to the “Enterprise and Cloud Services” business after the re-org, Nadella has proven to be the best pick among virtually everyone in industry for the job as new CEO of Microsoft.  Satya has the brains of Bill Gates and the leadership suave voice of Norm Judah (Chief Technology Officer of Worldwide Services at Microsoft) while at the same time possessing the the fighting vigor of Steve Ballmer.  Even his name having the “-ella” in Nadella is reminiscent of the recently passed Nelson Mandella, also a great leader.

One thing no one is talking about is that Satya Nadella is of East Asian/Indian decent. Internally Microsoft is filled with more of the same people with similar backgrounds and this must be a very powerful morale boost and motivational factor for the company. A departure from your typical Western leadership, this truly shows Microsoft’s diversity and belief of helping the entire world through software!

John Thompson has a very vibrant career.  Thompson, an African born in America in New Jersey is a sort of serial entrepreneur and has been a leader of many companies and organizations.  Among them, Thompson served as CEO for 10 years at Symantec corporation.  He also served 28 years at IBM and was the former Vice-President of IBM for some time.  In April 2006, Forbes top CEO list ranked Thompson #8 among all the top CEOs in the top industries.  For a time he was even being considered for the Commerce Strategy role as a part of President Obama’s Administration.  John Thompson has served for two years on the Microsoft board and now has replaced Bill Gates as Chairman of that board.

Both these men of color are very successful and impactful.  We should feel proud having great representation of what we as a people of color can do and it’s only just the beginning.  I wish them the best and I feel even more motivated to do great things and further help change the world!



One thought on “Powerful Men of Color

  1. I personally could care less about his race; I just want to see what he can do.

    Frankly, I’m just glad he’s not a pure MBA background like Ballmer. Satya seems to understand management better than Gates, who often toyed with breakthrough devices and software years before Apple, only to abandon them when he couldn’t get them right. Ballmer, however, didn’t truly love technology, much less understand it, so his vision was far too myopic on the business side. Gates was a terrible manager; Ballmer was a terrible technologist.

    I do like that Satya is very cloud-centric and is the sort of person to understand how important mobile and the merging of platforms are to the future of the company.

    Here’s wishing him luck. 🙂

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