Microsoft's Nadella apologizes for comments on women's pay equity

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella backpedaled fast from comments he made Thursday while addressing a group of mostly women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, in which he suggested that they should put their faith in "karma" if they don't get the pay raise they want.

Nadella was being interview by Maria Klawe, who is the president of Harvey Mudd College and also a member of Microsoft's board. He was asked for his advice on how women should approach asking for pay raises. "It's not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise," Nadella said. "That might be one of the initial 'super powers,' that quite frankly, women who don't ask for a raise have. It's good karma. It will come back."

The reaction to Nadella's comments was swift and negative. The Microsoft chief later sent a memo to all Microsoft employees, which was made public, in which he apologized for the remarks and insisted he would fight to close the pay gap between men and women, especially in the technology industry.

"Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises," Nadella wrote. "I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it's deserved, Maria's advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask." Post