(Reuters) - At least three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp want a turnaround expert to succeed Steve Ballmer as chief executive and have urged the technology giant's board to consider Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences Corp CEO Mike Lawrie for the job, several sources familiar with the matter said.
The special committee of the board, which is conducting the CEO search, and its advisers have been meeting with shareholders after Ballmer's surprise decision late last month to retire within a year, the sources said. It could name a CEO as soon as the end of this year, the sources said.
In one such meeting, Microsoft said it started with a list of about 40 people, including internal and external candidates, and has been narrowing it down, one of the sources said.
It wasn't clear whether the Microsoft board had reached out to any of the potential candidates suggested by investors or whether it was even considering them. The names of other candidates in the mix could not be learned.
Microsoft declined comment on Monday. Lawrie and Mulally could not be reached for comment. But last week, Mulally told Reuters that he was "absolutely focused on serving our Ford."
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