Microsoft Narrows Next CEO Candidates Down to Shortlist

Microsoft's search for a CEO continues, but the latest reports suggest the company is getting closer to a decision. The company announced plans to replace current CEO Steve Ballmer when Ballmer announced his retirement in August. Ballmer said he would leave the company within a year and that he would lend a hand in the search for a new leader. According to Reuters, Microsoft now has a short list of candidates for the job.

The news portal cites 'sources familiar with the matter' that say Microsoft is down to about five names, having started with roughly forty. Unsurprisingly, the candidates who remain in the running for consideration are all names we've heard before. Reuters' sources say both former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and Ford CEO Alan Mulally are on the list. Both men have, at one point or another over the last two months, been considered front runners for the position. Former Skype CEO and current Executive VP of Business Development, Strategy and Evangelism at Microsoft, Tony Bates, and Satya Nadella, Executive VP of Cloud and Enterprise are apparently also on the list.

Rumors about the former head of Microsoft's business division, Stephen Elop, getting the job surfaced when Microsoft announced its acquisition of Nokia. Prior to those reports, lists of potential candidates covered everyone from Microsoft's own Julie Larson-Green to Google's Sundar Pichai. At the end of September, the Mulally rumors surfaced. AllThingsD reported that Mulally was the front runner among the candidates for the job, though neither party commented on the rumors.

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  • vmem
    All things considered, I'd put my money on Elop, mainly because he has the advantage of having been working closely with Microsoft for a while now. Otherwise as people pointed out in September, Mulally isn't a bad choice
  • burmese_dude
    Outrageous! I'm not on this list.

    I've got stellar qualification of posting comments on websites such as
  • Buddy Couch
    I wouldn't want to bet on a guy whose cars have archaic software systems. That recently added bluetooth in last 3 years. It is not possible for him to be caught up with the latest and greatest of what microsoft can do or will do. Yes ceo is about the business and that may not be technical most of the time, but wouldn't you rather have a guy that knows software business rather than one that knows car business?
  • stevejnb
    11878953 said:
    I wouldn't want to bet on a guy whose cars have archaic software systems. That recently added bluetooth in last 3 years. It is not possible for him to be caught up with the latest and greatest of what microsoft can do or will do. Yes ceo is about the business and that may not be technical most of the time, but wouldn't you rather have a guy that knows software business rather than one that knows car business?

    While I'm of the opinion we don't know, nor can we speculate on in any sort of truly informed manner, how any of these people will actually do... Ford is doing a lot better now than they were five years ago. Why? Because they saw the writing on the wall, that they were falling behind the curve of international car makers, and they started to play catch up. Today Ford is the most notable American auto industry success story coming out of the recession, is producing better cars, has caught up in many, many areas where they lagged behind international dealers, is healthy, stable, and pulling a hefty profit.

    Basically, this Ford guy has proven he knows how to play corporate catch-up well. Now ask yourself - is that maybe, just maybe, something that a company like Microsoft might value in its current situation?

  • DRosencraft
    Elop sounds like the more likely choice. Mullally isn't very likely to leave Ford soon. He's got a sort of rockstar gleam to him for what he's been able to do there, which makes him a prime candidate for almost any CEO opening. But he hasn't exactly seemed anxious to move on from that post yet. Don't know enough about the others to comment, but their prior positions don't seem to shout the kind of focus one might expect for leading a tech company like MSFT. They are more the type that would be brought in as interim CEO during a heavy focus period just to get the company through a particular product launch. MSFT is used to being very stable at the top spot, so they're more apt to pick someone they have confidence to lead them for a good few years at least.
  • hasten
    Mulally is the Jobs of auto manufacturing. Ford brought him back and they are the only Detroit manufacturer who wasn't bailed out cause of his savvy moves. I'm guessing it wouldn't take him long to figure it out.

    Elop is a terrifying proposition.
  • TeraMedia
    The only way anyone is going to save Microsoft from eventual obscurity is by changing their culture. Here's a WSJ article that talks about that a bit:

    There are numerous others. They talk about everything from how software does (and does not) get enhanced, to how risk-takers end up being punished. MSFT appears to have cut the legs out from under anything that SBallmer didn't care about. Windows Home Server? On life-support. Windows Media Center? Most likely getting swallowed up by XBone - and new features have been few and far-between, even though advances in Kinect, Metro UI and other technologies have created a much more appealing environment for enhancements.

    Rather than fixing bugs in or adding enhancements to features, they create new parallel or stacked features. Example: they have had the ability to do RAID 5 in Disk Manager for well over a decade. But rather than enhancing that feature to add other types of data redundancy (a la WHS v1 and linux RAID capabilities), they added a new storage pool concept that sits on top of - rather than inside of - the existing capabilities and code. Why? Politics and culture. And that approach might work when you're the only game in town, but the Windows user base is eroding. So that approach doesn't fly anymore, because their competitors are willing to fix the bugs that they will not, and customers are tired of seeing those bugs again and again.
  • f-14
    piss on all of them with the exception of Bates. they lack everything necessary for microsoft to survive 10 years from now.

    Robotics CEO: 12-Year-Old Whiz As Smart As Ph.Ds
    By Andrew Lampard | This Could Be Big
    When Ted Larson, the CEO of a Silicon Valley robotics firm, hired Rohan Agrawal as his summer intern this year he was skeptical that Rowan could keep up with his team’s pace.
    Rohan, after all, is 12 years old. And Larson, whose firm, OLogic, usually hires college or graduate students as interns, had never worked with someone so young. But Larson’s worries were quickly dispelled.

    “We had a large box of robot parts that some of the guys at Google gave us,” Larson said of Rowan’s first day at Ologic last summer. The box also contained a few laptops. “The goal was to get Linux and ROS (the Robot Operating System) up and running.”

    Larson said that he could have given that box of parts to a grad student and they may have come back to him with a functioning robot in a couple of weeks. Rohan came back the next day with an assembled robot.

    “And I was like, ‘oh my god,’ what will I do with him for the summer?” Larson said. “This was Day 2.”

    By the end of the internship, Larson was comparing Rohan’s robotics aptitude and knowledge to that of a PhD: “And anyone who has a problem with that clearly hasn’t met Rohan.”


    he also just replaced all the delivery vehicles and letter carriers and pizza delivery guys for the postal/delivery service. with a bit more work (say 6 of his hours) he will probably replace garbage collection.

    Microsoft is looking for a new CEO THIS KID SHOULD BE HEAD OF MICROSOFT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    on his 7th day as CEO of Micosoft, Windows will be entirely voice controlled or some shizit!
  • f-14
    i forgot to include the video watch it, it is worth way more.

    this Rohan kid could be a billionaire in 2 years if properly applied to industry needs from his first 2 days of internship at a robotics firm.