Microsoft head Satya Nadella formally received the Padma Bhushan - the third-highest civilian award in India - from India’s consul general TV Nagendra Prasad in San Francisco, USA. Nadella was named one of the 17 awardees.
The Hyderabad-born CEO of Microsoft is also planning to visit India in January 2023, after a span of three years. “It’s an honor to receive a Padma Bhushan Award and to be recognised with so many extraordinary people. I’m thankful to the President, Prime Minister, and people of India, and look forward to continuing to work with people across India to help them use technology to achieve more," said Nadella after receiving the award.
The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day. The awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service), Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and Padma Shri (distinguished service). The award seeks to recognise achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
During his meeting with Prasad, Nadella also discussed the critical role digital technology plays in empowering inclusive growth in India. The discussion focused on India’s growth trajectory and the country’s potential to be a global political and technology leader, according to Microsoft.
“We are living in a period of historic economic, societal and technological change," said Nadella, adding that “the next decade will be defined by digital technology. Indian industries and organisations of every size are turning to technology to help them do more with less, which will ultimately lead to greater innovation, agility and resilience".
The 55-year-old Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft in February 2014. In June 2021, Nadella was also named the company’s chairman, an additional role in which he will lead the work to set the agenda for the board.
Nadella is only the third CEO of Microsoft after the company’s founder Bill Gates, and Steve Ballmer. He is credited with revolutionising Microsoft’s cloud business, from lagging behind Amazon to bagging multi-billion dollar US Defense Department’s contracts.
His father, Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, was an IAS officer while his mother, Prabhavati, was a Sanskrit lecturer. After studying at Hyderabad Public School, Nadella got his electrical engineering degree from Mangalore University in 1988. He went on to do his master’s in computer science from the University of Wisconsin in 1990.
Nadella married Anupama Nadella in 1992, and has three children.
His rise to the top echelons of Microsoft started with him being scooped up by the Windows-maker from Sun Microsystems in 1992. Nadella joined the company as a Windows NT developer and rose in the ranks of Microsoft's divisions catering to businesses.
In 2007, Nadella was appointed as the vice president of Microsoft’s research and development department. He was elevated as the president of the company’s server business in 2011, before being appointed CEO in 2014.
Nadella’s life beyond Microsoft includes being a board trustee of University of Chicago and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is also on the board of Starbucks. He became an angel investor in the United States’ first-ever T20 cricket league, the Major League Cricket (MLC), in 2020. Reports suggest that the total inaugural introductory capital raised by the T20 Cricket League of USA is somewhere around USD 100 million.
Other accolades for Nadella include being named on the Time 100 list in 2018, and businessperson of the year by Financial Times and Fortune magazine in 2019.