Bloomberg reports that Microsoft's board is currently considering Ericsson AB Chief Executive Hans Vestberg as a possible successor to Microsoft's exiting CEO, Steve Ballmer. The news arrives by way of unnamed people briefed on the search who also named Microsoft cloud-computing chief Satya Nadella and former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop as candidates on the list. There are also a number of other "outsiders" in consideration.
The hunt for a replacement for Steve Ballmer began back in August when he told the public that he was retiring from the company. Later he implied that it was time for him to go, that a proper transformation into a devices and services company wouldn't take place unless a new CEO led the change.
Microsoft's board is expected to complete its search for a new CEO in the early part of 2014. The board originally started with a list of 100 candidates, and has since narrowed the list considerably. Bloomberg reports that the search has been "dogged" with difficulty, as the presence of Ballmer and Bill Gates on the board have deterred some candidates.
Sources claim that some CEO candidates have refused the offer or dropped out of the running. At one point, Ford's CEO Alan Mulally was the top candidate until the company made it clear that he wouldn't leave the company until later this year. Mulally voiced his concerns about Ballmer and Gates actually giving a new CEO enough room to help transform the previous software-focused company.
Ericsson's Vestberg joined the company in 1988 and served various management positions for Ericsson in China, Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. He served as the Chief Financial Officer from 2007 to 2009, and then after that he moved up to become the CEO in January 2010. He remains the international advisor to the Governor of Guangdong, China.
"Along with the rest of Ericsson's executive team, Vestberg is focused on advancing the company's leadership through innovation, technology, services and sustainable business solutions. Under his direction, Ericsson has become the main driver toward the Networked Society, where connectivity is the fuel of progress," reads his bio on the Ericsson website.
Bloomberg reports that last September, Ericsson completed the acquisition of Microsoft's Mediaroom unit. Phone companies can deliver TV services via broadband networks thanks to the company's software. Under Vestberg, Ericsson shares have risen about 19 percent.