His friends and colleagues are keeping their fingers crossed and his former bureaucrat father would not comment on anything speculative, but the hi-tech city from where Satya Nadella hails is already in jubilation.
In selecting 46-year-old Nadella as its CEO, the US based Microsoft Corporation would be giving recognition to Hyderabad for the second time. It was the setting up of Microsoft’s first development centre outside the United Stated here in 1998 that began the transformation of the city of pearls into ‘Cyberabad’.
If chosen, Nadella, a Hyderabadi, would be the first Microsoft CEO from outside the US.
“It would be great. He would be an inspiration,” said 22-year-old Vamsi Krishna, who has just finished his B. Tech and joined a top IT firm. Krishna is all the more excited to know Nadella’s stream in engineering was electronics and communications – just like his.
Nadella was born in Hyderabad in 1967 and went to the Hyderabad Public School. He pursued his Bachelors in Engineering from Manipal in Karnataka and later went to the US for postgraduate studies, a trajectory many engineering students from the state — the Telugu techies — follow.
Andhra Pradesh, particularly Hyderabad, now has the highest concentration of engineering institutions in the country, not requiring one to go to the neighbouring Karnataka.
“The seeds sown two, three decades back are giving their fruit,” says professor Rameshwara Rao, vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University – the top engineering institution of the state. “What Hyderabad today is due to the sum and effort of many and Nadella’s elevation would add to the global recognition we achieved.”
However, Nadella’s father BN Yugandhar, a retired IAS officer who held top bureaucratic positions in government of India and later served as the planning commission member, does not want to celebrate just yet.
Yugandhar, who now lives in Hyderabad, is not entertaining requests for interviews.
Officials at the Microsoft’s swanky campus in Cyberabad (the city’s outskirts where IT firms are concentrated) refused to comment. A regular visitor to his city, Nadella has interacted with several executives.
A senior manager, on condition of anonymity, agreed there was excitement on the campus people were awaiting the Microsoft announcement.
“What can I say? He’s a great leader and a great colleague to work with. And yes, he’s a very nice person,” she beamed.
State IT minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah is already drawing plans to felicitate Nadella. “Our people are in prominent numbers in the IT sector, both in India and the US, and Nadella becoming Microsoft’s CEO would showcase our ability in the industry prominently,” he said.
At present, Hyderabad boasts of annual IT exports of over Rs. 53, 000 crore.
Lakshmaiah, who was also educated in the US, wants to meet Nadella at the earliest to invite him home on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh government. “It’s a matter of pride for all the Telugus,” said the minister.