Satya Nadella draws praise from friends, teachers

“Satya Nadella was a smart but naughty kid, like anyone staying in a hostel. And I fondly remember the pranks on the warden in the Nalanda hostel,” recalls his classmate in the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, and former Microsoft Director, Phani Krishna. Satya was not exceptional in academics but always figured in the top 10. But his other qualities like being a good cricketer and excellent debater made him more popular in school.

Mr. Phani also acknowledges the down-to-earth attitude of Mr. Nadella. “He was my boss in Microsoft as its president. But he broke all the protocols to hug me in a meeting and left his security to go out for lunch with me,” Mr. Phani recalled. “It’s a great feeling that we were in the same class,” he says.

His other friends and teachers are pretty excited about Nadella’s appointment as CEO, Microsoft. “We are all delighted. This once again enhances the school’s reputation in producing many successful persons,” says Faiz Khan, his classmate and secretary of Hyderabad Public School Governing Body. Mr. Nadella always tried to take out time to visit his alma mater. He is from the 1984 batch. “In fact in 2011, he had inaugurated the Microsoft Robotics facility,” Mr. Faiz recalled.

“Extremely happy that he heads the world’s most known company,” says Hari Prasad, his classmate and CEO, Central, Apollo Hospitals. Mr. Nadella’s teacher, G. Jayanand, termed him a well behaved and dedicated student and excellent in extra-curricular activities. “I am proud of my student’s success,” said the beaming teacher. Interestingly, Nadella’s wife Anupama Priyadarshini is also a HPS alumnus.

Mr. Satya hails from a distinguished family of IAS officers. He is son of former IAS officer B.N. Yugandhar who served in the Prime Minister’s Office while his wife is the daughter of another retired IAS officer K.R. Venugopal, an architect of the Rs. 2 a kg rice scheme launched during the late NTR’s regime. The two senior officials were colleagues in the PMO during late P.V. Narasimha Rao regime. A media contingent waiting outside Mr. Yugandhar's home for his reaction were left disappointed as the families declined to meet them. Their message was clear: respect our privacy.