Ever since talks began of who was going to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Ford CEO Alan Mulally topped the list of potential candidates. His inclusion was rather exciting for some as he previously turned Ford around at the height of the automotive industry crisis and didn’t even need government stimulus money to do so. As you can imagine, that’s very appealing to a company like Microsoft that’s looking to turn itself around, but it looks like Mulally won’t be leaving Ford anytime soon.
Bloomberg reports that Ford Board Director, Edsel Ford, recently stated that Mulally is staying with Ford through the end of 2014. That’s been the narrative Ford has given ever since it was first rumored that Mulally might be leaving for Microsoft. While Ford’s CEO is not tied down to the company through any contractual obligations, the man himself has also stated that he wishes to remain with the company through at least the end of next year.
If that’s the case, that leaves Microsoft in somewhat of a bind as it needs to announce a replacement and fast. A report from October said that the company was looking to replace Ballmer by the end of 2013, but it’s looking more and more like that’s not possible. At best, we will see a replacement announcement at some point in January or February.
If Mulally is truly out of the picture, where does that leave Microsoft? The company’s other two top candidates – Satya Nadella and Tony Bates – come from within with the former leading the company’s Cloud and Enterprise group while the latter leads the company’s Business Development and Strategy. With Microsoft’s focus on enterprise going forward, it would make sense for them to bring in Nadella as its CEO. Employees, however, are reportedly pushing for Bates as they see his experience at both Cisco and Skype would better serve Microsoft than any other candidate.
In any case, we’re likely to find out who Ballmer’s replacement is within the next few months. Let’s just hope they don’t choose Stephen Elop.
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