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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Parents Were So Excited About the New CEO of Microsoft

Posted by on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:25 PM

MICROSOFT CEO SATYA NADELLA Presiding over the largest layoffs in company history.
  • MICROSOFT CEO SATYA NADELLA Presiding over the largest layoffs in company history.

When Satya Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft earlier this year, I received an excited phone call from my parents.

Did you hear the news? And he’s not just an Indian. He’s from Hyderabad,” my mother squawked, referring to the city in South India where she and my father are from.

Every time an Indian appears in a prominent position on the global stage, my parents join their fellow Indians in muffled cheers of pride and solidarity. Boasting does not come naturally to most Indians, who prefer others to recognize and advertise their merits. Yet when global society rewards one of their own by placing him in a position of power and prestige, many Indians’ modest veneer disintegrates into brazen self-satisfaction.

Over the years, the occasions for pride have multiplied as more Indians have assumed leadership positions in major multinational corporations. The CEOs of PepsiCo, MasterCard, Deutsche Bank, and Adobe Systems are all Indians. While the success of these Indians might frighten members of the far right, who worry that immigrants are poised to take over the world, many members of the business and academic communities celebrate Indians’ corporate ascent. Recent studies have found that Indian executives exhibit more humility as leaders and are more future-oriented than their Western counterparts. Perhaps capital in the 21st century is an Indian’s game.

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