Microsoft's search for a new CEO is apparently somewhat urgent.
Current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced plans to retire at the end of August. At the time, Ballmer said he would stay on until a new CEO was found and would help in the search for his replacement. Ballmer recently had his last company meeting at Microsoft, suggesting his exit was imminent. Now, rumor has it that Microsoft's board hopes to find a replacement before the year is over.
Bloomberg cites people with knowledge of the discussions who say Microsoft is currently narrowing down its list of potential CEOs and is hoping to reach a decision, appointing a new chief executive before 2013 draws to a close. Bloomberg's sources say some candidates have said they're not interested (eBay CEO John Donahoe is one example), and Microsoft is working on its choices amid preliminary interviews. Redmond has reportedly already spoken to Ford's Alan Mulally, Nokia's Stephen Elop, Pivotal CEO and former Microsoft exec Paul Maritz, and Microsoft business chief Tony Bates.
It's been almost 50 days since Ballmer announced his plans to retire within the year. In that time we've seen all sorts of names bandied about as potential candidates, chief among them Nokia's Stephen Elop (who used to work at Microsoft), and Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Mulally was, at the end of September, described as the frontrunner for the position. Though Ford has refused to entertain the rumors (the company called it 'speculation'), Mulally has cryptically said his plan to stay at Ford until the end of 2014 remains unchanged. Is Microsoft willing to wait for the right candidate, or is time of the essence in this scenario? Or, will Mulally change his plans in exchange for the right deal at Redmond?