Alan Mulally Officially Denies Plan to Become Next Chief Exec of Microsoft

CEO of Ford Remains with Motor Company, Has No Plans to Succeed Steve Ballmer

by Anton Shilov
01/07/2014 | 11:40 PM

Following months of ongoing rumours about a plan to make Alan Mullaly, chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., the next chief exec of Microsoft, the man himself officially denied this possibility. Mr. Mulally has no intentions to leave Ford for the software giant.


“I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford. You don't have to worry about me leaving,” said Alan Mulally in an interview with Associated Press news-agency.

Alan Mulally has successfully reshaped Ford’s management and even avoided federal bailout in 2009. He is considered as Microsoft’s Louis Gerstner (a former IBM chief exec that dramatically changed the company during his tenure), who, without a lot of emotions, would reform the company in a way to make it more sustainable and to enable future growth. Throughout his career, Mr. Mulally worked at Boeing and Ford; hence, he does not have a lot of IT business experience. Still, if he became the CEO of Microsoft, he would obviously have the best possible advisors that even exist. On the other hand, it is hard to expect Mr. Mulally to control the whole process of new products development and recognize revolutionary IT innovations years ahead of commercialization. Moreover, Mr. Mulally is 68 years old and cannot be far off retirement.

According to market analysts, Satya Nadella, executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group, is one of the most likely internal candidate to replace Steve Ballmer, who announced his retirement plan last August. At present, Mr. Nadella is responsible for building and running the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services. Mr. Nadella and his team deliver the “Cloud OS”, Microsoft’s next generation backend platform, which is designed for modern application needs across all types of customers and types of use. In general, Mr. Nadella is shaping the future of the software in general. Other likely candidates are Tony Bates Tony Bates, executive vice president of Microsoft responsible for business development, strategy and evangelism (previously was the president of Skype division of Microsoft); and Steven Elop, who will rejoin Microsoft when it acquires Nokia Corp.’s devices and services division later this quarter.

Jon Peddie, the head of Jon Peddie Research who has been analyzing the computer market for several decades, 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 is in process of a major transition these days and its future direction is pretty much clear: the world’s largest software maker’s strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses. Creation of such products and services should not be a problem, the company has a lot of internal talent and a lot of money. What Microsoft does need is to roll-out competitive products and services on time and not be afraid of competing with its traditional customers among hardware makers.