Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on ‘being an American company’ under Donald Trump

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he understands the concept of America First, US President Donald Trump’s stated nationalist vision. That’s because in his global travels, Nadella meets many leaders who ask him how his company is helping their own interests.

But the executive, born in India and a US citizen, also said his company must display “enduring values” anchored to the Constitution.

“In this case, being an American company, our values are integrally tied to what I think are American values,” Nadella said, speaking with USA TODAY on the occasion of his third anniversary as CEO.

“And these enduring values are something that we’ll always stand for. Then we will evaluate any policy in any country through those values. And that’s kind of where we come from.”

Nearly 80 Microsoft employees were affected by the ban, which suddenly restricted entry into the US for travellers from seven majority-Muslim nations.

‘Create economic opportunity’

The CEO also added a personal comment to his LinkedIn page on the immigration ban topic, saying “as an immigrant and as a CEO, I’ve both experienced and seen the positive impact that immigration has on our company, for the country, and for the world. We will continue to advocate on this important topic.”

Trump has said that instead of fighting the ban’s lifting in court, he will issue a new executive order related to the travel of foreign nationals this week.

Nadella was among a large group of tech CEOs who met with then President-elect Trump to discuss their industry. Others at the meeting included Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Nadella explains that his own life story exemplified both the positive power of multinational corporations as well as the virtue of US immigration policies.

“It was actually Microsoft products that introduced me to computing, which then helped me dream the dream, and then America’s enlightened immigration policy helped me live the dream,” he says.

“And so I think that in some sense every country should always put their own national interests first.”

Nadella says that whether he’s meeting with President Trump or India’s Prime Minister Modi, “my job as a CEO of a multinational company is to be able to clearly articulate how Microsoft is responsibly working in each of those countries to create economic opportunity for their people, their businesses and their interests”.

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