Microsoft CEO Search: Mulally and Nadella Take the Lead
Ford's CEO and the head of Microsoft's cloud business are the frontrunners while Silicon Valley throws its support behind Tony Bates.For months, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has been considered the frontrunner in the search for Steve Ballmer's replacement as CEO of Microsoft. However, the company is said to be also weighing an internal candidate whose career aligns with the company's goal to become a cloud computing powerhouse. Microsoft insiders told Bloomberg that the software giant's board of directors "is focusing on Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally and internal executive Satya Nadella as part of a group of more likely candidates to become the next CEO of the world's biggest software company, according to people familiar with the matter." Tony Bates, former president of voice over IP (VoIP) innovator Skype—Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion—and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop are technically still in the running, but their prospects aren't as rosy, according to the report. Ballmer is set to retire by August 2014, the chief executive announced this summer, after more than 13 years at the helm. Following the July 11 announcement of a massive reorganization effort, part of the new "One Microsoft" strategy, Ballmer said an Aug. 23 statement, "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time." Just as Microsoft's leadership is embroiled in spearheading the One Microsoft strategy, Mulally is leading a similar effort at Ford. A Ford spokesperson told Bloomberg that "Alan remains completely focused on executing our One Ford plan. We do not engage in speculation."
Nadella is the head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise computing group. He has been with Microsoft since 1992.