Speaking at the Grace Hopper Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, he was asked in an interview for his thoughts on what women should do if they are not comfortable asking for a pay rise.
In front a of live audience, Nadella said: "It's not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along."
"And that I think might be one of the additional super powers that, quite frankly, women who don't ask for a raise have. Because that's good karma. It'll come back, because somebody is going to know that is the kind of person that I want to trust," he added.
The conference was specifically focused on the issue of women in computing and is the world's largest gathering of women technologists, according to its program. Interviewee Maria Klawe, the president of the Harvey Mudd College, retorted that Nadella's comments were one of the "very few things" on which she disagreed with him. Klawe's response received a round of applause in the Phoenix Convention Center and the debate continued on social networking sites like Twitter.