Microsoft Considering Ericsson CEO to Take Ballmer's Place

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.

  • DjEaZy
    ... nokia, ericsson... hmmm... may be siemens tooo...?
  • back_by_demand
    Yeah, merge with Yahoo and get Marissa Meyer as CEO, despite being a 4 star hottie she is pretty much the smartest and geekiest person on the planet.
  • red77star
    WTF these tards from smart phone companies know about Windows and PC.
  • ethanolson
    Why are the two most talked about picks from the tech industry people who've had a slow death to their companies? Who's next on the list, the Blackberry CEO? All barf for a non-phone company.If Microsoft wants to be a devices company, just merge with HP and take over the planet.
  • belardo
    Dear Microsoft. (Jan 18 / 2014)

    I am offering to be the CEO of your company, which you should consider quite serious as many other high profile possibilities have refused to be the leader of your company. You need new blood, with a different mind set than the current 30+ year old culture. One of the advantages I give to lead the Microsoft company is that I actually do not like the company itself nor many of your products due to your business tactics, lack of originality, middle management idiots and very little creativity. Considering the wealth the company has, it is quite clear that you cannot buy the talent you need because people DON'T want to work for you.

    I have out-dated patents from 2001 that are more hip than any iMac, ever. Sure, I do not make millions per year, but guess what? Bill Gates, Steve jobs, Richard Branson and others started their companies with a few dollars, a garage and vision. Microsoft no longer has a face or personality, even thou Bill Gates was always considered the "GEEK", he does have personality and compassion. As of now, Microsoft has ZERO personality other than middle-management yuppies. Look at the CEO of Virgin (Branson), he never graduated from high school but runs one of the most successful and well liked companies in the world, I mean the DUDE HAS A FLEET SPACE CRAFT and gives nude babe Kite-surf rides!!!

    I have been very public on many ways to correct the Windows 8 OS, long before it was released to the retail market. The fact that YOUR entire board and management thought that Windows 8 was going to be a knockout proves your lack of leadership, common sense and creativity... over all, just plain stupid. Everything that has happened with Windows 8 and 8.1, Surface, WP8 and WinRT, I had predicted.

    I think its funny as hell that Microsoft expected Windows 8.1 to jump-start the Windows-PC market... when instead, Windows 7 market share grew!! So here is my offer: Give me two years to ACTUALLY change the company for the future. Stop being the copy-cat company with no direction other than driving the company into a mountain face that has a painting of a tunnel drawn by Bugs Bunny. I'll work on the cheap, $2 million a year + expenses. If the company isn't growing or improving public opinion and sales, then I'll be gone, no golden parachute required. If I make the company better, I get bonuses that are deserved and continue on as your CEO.

    I am available to start work now.
    Seriously... Trust me, you have nothing to lose by hiring me.
    And think of the publicity.

    Send me a PM on Tomshardware.