Satya Nadella has been apologising for a statement he made which received backlash. Nadella reportedly made the statement at a conference designed to promote the role of women in the technology industry.
The CEO was asked what women who feel uncomfortable asking for a pay rise should do. He responded: “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.”
He said that bosses would acknowledge that these women had not asked for a raise, which would bring about “good karma” for them.
Nadella later apologised for this statement via Twitter, tweeting: “was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias”.
He also apologised in the form of a memo to Microsoft employees. “One of the answers I gave at the conference was generic advice that was just plain wrong,” the memo said. “I apologize. For context, I had received this advice from my mentors and followed it in my own career.”
Nadella acknowledged in the memo the potential for his statements about women to be perceived as offensive.
“My advice underestimated exclusion and bias — conscious and unconscious — that can hold people back,” he wrote. “Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong. Leaders need to act and shape the culture to root out biases and create an environment where everyone can effectively advocate for themselves.”
According to Nadella, he is “100% committed to diversity” and “deeply desires a vibrant culture of inclusion.”
Microsoft have offered their CEO a pay deal of over US$84m – after he made a comment which offended countless women.