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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Just hours after his comments about women asking for raises, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has issued an apology.

During an interview with Microsoft board member Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Nadella said that women should not explicitly ask for a raise, but rather rely on “good karma.”

His answer drew silence and murmurs in the crowd, and the backlash was felt immediately online. Just after the comments, Nadella tweeted this:

But that apparently wasn’t enough, as Nadella sent a company-wide email and posted the note online:

Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. 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.

Nadella added: “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

Here’s the full memo from the Microsoft CEO:

From: Satya Nadella
Sent: Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:24 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG); Retail: All FTE
Subject: RE: Empowering Others

All – Today I was interviewed on stage by Maria Klawe at the Grace Hopper Conference – I encourage you to watch the video. It was great to spend time with so many women passionate about technology. I was honored to be a part of it and I left the conference energized and inspired.

Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. 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.

I said I was looking forward to the Grace Hopper Conference to learn, and I certainly learned a valuable lesson. I look forward to speaking with you at our monthly Q&A next week and am happy to answer any question you have.

Satya

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