UW-Milwaukee grad named new Microsoft CEO

CREATED Feb 4, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 4, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee can now add Microsoft CEO to it's list of alumni.  Satya Nadella becomes the third CEO of in the company's 38 year history.


But before his successful Microsoft career began, Nadella spent hours on end on the 7th floor of the Engineering and Mathematical Science building at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  “I usually have my research lab there. One day I just walked in and found his sleeping bag there and said what's it doing?” K. Vairavan tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.

Vairavan was one of Nadella’s professors in Computer Science when he was working on his Master’s Degree in 1989 and 1990.  K. Vairavan tells Ritka that apparently Satya Nadella was so dedicated to his studies that he spent several nights sleeping in the lab on the 7th floor so he could work later on his research.

But K. Vairavan wasn’t surprised, “He is extremely focused; it is not surprising to me that he has had a remarkable career at Microsoft.”

And after 22 years with the company, Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft.  “The 1st thing is both internally and externally, there's a lot to learn,” Nadella said to the employees at Microsoft this afternoon.

But his learning began in India where he got his Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering before coming to Wisconsin.  K. Vairavan remembers the transition in climates prompted Nadella to quit smoking for lack of love of the cold.

Nadella’s professor and academic advisor Hossein Hosseini says that his love for life as well as his studies is what got him where he is today, “He's just a great guy, you really want him to be around, I'm sure this has helped him, his personal skills has helped him really to be successful, it's not just technical, it's not just business but this is important too."

And the UW-Milwaukee alumnus is setting goals that soar beyond his cloud computing, “This business of ours is exciting because in some sense it doesn't really respect tradition and what we've done in the past, it's all about innovation going forward”

But he couldn’t have such a promising future without the help of a traditional Milwaukee university.  “He not only survived, he thrived. I think we prepared him well. I'm very happy about that,” K. Vairavan admits.  Hossein Hosseini adds, “The message is very clear; our students are of quality and he is one of those.  So we are very proud of him.”  Bringing pride not only to professors, but to all Panthers.