In late August, current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he would be leaving the company within 12 months. After an emotional final goodbye, the rumors about who would take his place started circulating – and as time goes on, those rumors are getting more fierce and frequent.
Today, Reuters reported that former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally have made the Microsoft CEO shortlist. Other candidates include former Skype CEO Tony Bates and Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise head Satya Nadella.
What’s interesting is that both Elop and Mulally have incredibly close ties with Microsoft: the former was purchased by the software giant this summer, and Ford and Microsoft have been working together on Ford Sync – an in-car infotainment system – since the 2008 model year onward.
Before taking his position at Ford, Mulally was the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he led the design team responsible for the first all-digital flight deck. As CEO of Ford, he led the company through the recession without taking bailout money – making Ford the only manufacturer of the Big Three to not take any government loans. Simply put, he knows how to run a large, worldwide business. In fact, even the outgoing Ballmer himself agrees: “[Mulally] understands the fundamentals of business success as well as any business leader I know.”
On the flip side, Elop was hired in some of Nokia’s most troubling times. He was there for the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft that effectively made the former a Microsoft subsidiary, as well as played a key role in the buyout this summer. He currently serves as Executive Vice President of Devices & Services at Microsoft – a decidedly important position, and one that would seemingly give him plenty of expertise when it comes to eventually running the company.
Microsoft, Nokia, and Ford all declined to speculate on their respective employees’ chances for the Microsoft CEO position. It’s very likely that the decision won’t come for some time.
Who do you want to be hired as the next CEO of Microsoft? Leave your predictions and wishes in the comments![Reuters]