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How do you turn around the culture of a 130,000-person company? Ask Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is five years in.
By Simone Stolzoff

Quartz contributor

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

It was March 27, 2014, and Satya Nadella was about to make his first public appearance as CEO of Microsoft. The tone, he knew, would be important.

Nadellaโ€™s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, was famous for making public appearances feel epic. At a 1991 meeting in Japan, he seemed to injure his vocal chords because he was screaming โ€œWindowsโ€ with such force. In 2000, when Microsoft celebrated its 25th anniversary, Ballmer reportedly popped out of a giant cake. And in 2013, when he announced he was stepping down, he bid farewell to 13,000 Microsoft employees as โ€œ(Iโ€™ve had) The Time of My Lifeโ€ blared through the speakers of Key Arena in Seattle. Through tears, the 6โ€™5โ€ Ballmer shouted, โ€œSoak it in all of you. You work for the greatest company in the world.โ€

Nadella was not that kind of CEO.

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