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Exec to stay after Microsoft CEO change


– Microsoft Corp.’s cloud-services chief, Satya Nadella, said he plans to stay at the software company regardless of who replaces CEO Steve Ballmer.

“Microsoft is an exciting place to be at now. It’s an amazing spot to be in,” Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Paris. Asked whether he will stay at Microsoft for the long-haul, Nadella said: “absolutely.”

The executive declined to comment on his status as a potential successor to Ballmer. Nadella is on a list of more likely candidates at the Redmond, Wash., company, people familiar with the matter have said.

The board is aiming for a quick replacement for Ballmer, who said in August that he will retire within the next 12 months. Microsoft has seen its software leadership decline amid a shrinking of the personal-computer market, which was its core business. Microsoft is shifting its strategy to focus more on hardware and Internet-based services and away from its software roots as it competes with Apple Inc. and Google Inc.

The search for a new CEO hasn’t affected day-to-day business, Nadella said.

“It’s not like there wasn’t any change we had to navigate over the past 30 years,” he said. “If we didn’t know how to do it, we wouldn’t be here. We’ve shown our ability to re-engineer ourselves.”

Part of that push is to compete with Inc. on selling cloud-computing services to companies. The executive said he met with customers in France to talk about moving faster to cloud services that can be accessed at a distance. He said clients are excited, though they’re increasingly worried about data-privacy issues.

“Customers were asking before – they’re asking more now,” Nadella said about data privacy. “It’s actually working to our advantage because we have the flexibility to tailor to our customers’ needs.”

Microsoft on Monday joined technology companies including Apple and Google to call on the U.S. government to lead reform of surveillance practices after revelations the National Security Agency gained access to private networks to conduct spying.

Encrypting data and storing them on equipment based in specific countries or regions are among the proposed solutions, Nadella said.