The list of potential chief executive officers of Microsoft Corp. has shrunk to five candidates: four known executives from inside and outside of Microsoft as well as one unnamed person. The initial list consisted of as many as forty names, but it looks like the company was fast enough to figure out the people who are most likely to get the job.
In August, the current head of Microsoft – Steve Ballmer – said he would retire in the following twelve months. Since then, the company formed a special committee, which has been interviewing different candidates from various industries, including life sciences and consumer. According to Reuters news-agency, at present the list consists of five candidates, but the final decision could take several months to make.
The list looks as follows:
- Alan Mulally – chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., who has successfully reshaped the company’s management and even avoided federal bailout in 2009. The problem is that while he may be open to new opportunities and could reform the software giant, he is 68 years old and cannot be far off retirement. Still, all he actually needs to do is to turnaround Microsoft in three or four years and not necessarily stay CEO for a decade.
- Stephen Elop – former chief executive of Nokia, who has nearly destroyed the Finnish company after he took the reins in 2010. While the person already was a Microsoft executive and even will become a Microsoft employee after the software giant acquires Nokia’s devices division, he does not seem to be a complete outsider from Microsoft.
- Tony Bates – former head of Skype, who is also a Microsoft employee these days. Currently he develops new business strategy for the software giant.
- Satya Nadella – a Microsoft executive responsible for cloud and enterprise technologies who has been at Microsoft since 1992 and clearly has emotional ties to the company’s products.
- Unknown candidate.
Microsoft’s next chief executive needs to finalize ongoing transitions, e.g., focus on creating a family of devices, services and programs for individuals and businesses. Jon Peddie, the head of Jon Peddie Research, believes that Microsoft does not necessarily require a new visionary – like Bill Gates – on the role of chief executive officer, but rather needs a business executive who will recognize potentially profitable products and technologies at the early stages of development and will not hold the company back.
Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.