Bloomberg: Alan Mulally still a favorite for Microsoft CEO position; Stephen Elop no longer frontrunner

Microsoft seems to have narrowed down its list of potential CEOs even further, with Ford’s Alan Mulally being the favourite while Stephen Elop and Tony Bates are kept as reserves.

Bloomberg News is reporting that Microsoft’s board is getting closer to a decision in regards to its upcoming CEO change. Earlier reports claimed that the company is looking to name a new CEO by the end of this year, and new information seems to confirm that.

Stephen Elop, who is still working for Nokia at this point, once considered a favourite in the CEO race seems to have been ‘downgraded’ alongside Tony Bates, another strong internal candidate. Recent rumors suggested that Elop had a radical vision for Microsoft’s future that included killing off Bing and possibly selling off the Xbox division.

In the meantime Ford’s current CEO, Alan Mulally, and Satya Nadella, executive vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, are now considered to be the favorites. An internal document described the ideal CEO candidate as having “extensive track record in managing complex, global organizations within a fast-paced and highly competitive market sector; track record of delivering top and bottom line results. Proven ability to lead a multi-billion dollar organization and large employee base”.

While Ford’s CEO definitely marks all of those checkboxes, his lack of experience in the technology industry is seen by some as a potential deal-breaker. And let’s not forget that both Ford and Mulally himself have stated there are no changes planned in Ford’s leadership.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s current CEO is set to retire in the next nine months as a way to help accelerate the major changes happening inside the tech giant.  

Source: Bloomberg | Image via Microsoft

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21 Comments

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Don't they see that Ford having the issue with quality control lately? There are so many re-calls on some Ford models lately. The latest is cracking in engine and oil can could cause fire.

Mulallay is too old, FFS. I bet he types with two fingers. They need a younger guy, a CEO with a vision. And MS doesn't need fixing like Ford did. All that MS has to do is stick to the "One MS" plan (unify OSes like RT and WP, etc.).

> (Mulally's) lack of experience in the technology industry is seen by some as a potential deal-breaker.

Hardly. The guy's got an engineering background, and he designed cockpits for Boeing. Frankly, I'd think the opposite would be true, some would believe he's too much of a hands-on geek and doesn't have enough of a business background...but then, his time at Ford has disproved that. It sounds to me like he has the ability to adapt.

As a software developer, I'd be thrilled to have a guy like him lead a software company.

LaP said,
Will Elop be stab in the back? After all he did for Microsoft it would be a shame.

Well, " who lives by the sword, die by the sword"....
My guess is that Mulally will be the chosen one; he will be an interim CEO who, having no internal string with the company will execute all the reshuffling and heads chopping etc.
After two, three years with all the dust settled and a Board with a consolidated equilibrium among the various factions, a lasting CEO will arrive. Who will that person be? Very hard to guess but, if she will survive the reshuffling, Julie Larson-Green will be a candidate.

-1 Satya Nadella is part of the same leadership at Microsoft which has lead Microsoft to the position where the CEO had to resign. -1 Satya Nadella is also part of the former leadership of the now dead Sun Microsystems. -1 Satya Nadella is the enterprisey type guy.

+1 Mulally, he has revived two major American corporations, Boeing and Ford, +1 Mulally he has the technical and charisma, +1 Mulally he combines the consumer facing and business business facing track record

Microsoft seems to be clear as to what it wants foe the future, and it certainly isn't what Elop wants. I'm glad to see him out of the picture.

nitins60 said,
Satya Nadella +1

Known for management of complex business, one of the best visionaries in MS since the days of Gates.


I agree, but I'm afraid he lacks the feeling of the customer side of things.

Jarrichvdv said,

I agree, but I'm afraid he lacks the feeling of the customer side of things.

You can never find the perfect person.
As per reorganization plans, Elop will be taking over Devices, he's the best bet for maintaining customer side of things.
from WP and Windows side, Joe Belfiore is the best bet for customer side.

If Satya is chosen, Microsoft will need to appoint a public face to give the big speeches, and handle the media. He may have the credentials, but does not have the right personality to be the "face of the company" IMO.

Mullaly would be a fixer brought in to right the ship whilst someone designed for the long term is found, groomed, or prepared.

Elop was never a contender from my PoV, because of the negativity surrounding his tenure at Nokia, and the fact Microsoft needs him to run their devices division.

Kevin Turner just NO... NO NO NO NO NO!

mdtaUK said,
If Satya is chosen, Microsoft will need to appoint a public face to give the big speeches, and handle the media. He may have the credentials, but does not have the right personality to be the "face of the company" IMO.

Mullaly would be a fixer brought in to right the ship whilst someone designed for the long term is found, groomed, or prepared.

Elop was never a contender from my PoV, because of the negativity surrounding his tenure at Nokia, and the fact Microsoft needs him to run their devices division.

Kevin Turner just NO... NO NO NO NO NO!

I've seen Satya give speeches, sure they're to developers but it's not like he can't talk to a large group of people, specially about technology.

mdtaUK said,
If Satya is chosen, Microsoft will need to appoint a public face to give the big speeches, and handle the media. He may have the credentials, but does not have the right personality to be the "face of the company" IMO.

Mullaly would be a fixer brought in to right the ship whilst someone designed for the long term is found, groomed, or prepared.

Elop was never a contender from my PoV, because of the negativity surrounding his tenure at Nokia, and the fact Microsoft needs him to run their devices division.

Kevin Turner just NO... NO NO NO NO NO!

and you are OK with person who doesn't know anything about technology and may he doesn't even know how many Windows OS versions are there!!!!

nitins60 said,

and you are OK with person who doesn't know anything about technology and may he doesn't even know how many Windows OS versions are there!!!!

I disagree, he has a good vibe to be a great public figure.

And he can be trained to improve on his weaknesses.

nickcruz said,

I disagree, he has a good vibe to be a great public figure.

I agree, while Nadella is far more technically proficient, Elop is actually a fantastic public speaker. As far as the better option for CEO goes, I'm honestly not sure.

mdtaUK said,
Mullaly would be a fixer brought in to right the ship whilst someone designed for the long term is found, groomed, or prepared. ;

All CEOs should be temporary, and they should leave when it becomes clear they are the wrong CEO for whatever problem the company is facing. The problem a company faces changes every 2-10 years. The two years goes for companies in a competitive market such as the tech market. Right now Microsoft has internal issues: its too slow and divided. mullally is experiences with this kind of issues. While the entire strategic management team will be involved in shaping the future.