But it also marked the ascension of an Indian-born executive to the top of a global powerhouse—a milestone marked by people of Indian descent worldwide.
(Read more: Microsoft's new CEO: An insider and a 'cloud' man )
When the news was announced, Twitter filled with posts celebrating Nadella's appointment at the world's largest software company.
"Fantastic news about Satya Nadella—Microsoft, Pepsi, Citibank all headed by people of Indian origin. Should motivate all South Asians!"
"For someone who is South Asian to be at Microsoft, it's a really big deal for the Indian community here as well as in India, where people are ... celebrating his success and taking a lot of pride in his achievement," said Sree Sreenivasan, the chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum.