Will Microsoft Tap Ford Motor’s Mulally as CEO?

Now that time is running short, Microsoft has reportedly taken another step toward determining who will take over the company once its current chief, Steve Ballmer, leaves his position in early 2014. Last month, the list of potential CEO candidates dwindled and now that November is almost over, Microsoft may be focusing on just two of the people on that list.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Microsoft executive vice president Satya Nadella have both risen to the top of the candidate list, with former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop falling by the wayside. Both Mulally and Nadella have great qualities that will benefit Microsoft but the company now has to decide whether it wants to hand over the CEO reins to someone within the company or if it is willing to look elsewhere.

Unlikely Choices

Earlier in November it was reported that Microsoft had shortlisted just four candidates, Mulally, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft cloud boss Nadella, and former Skype president Tony Bates. Even though Elop and Bates are still on the list, Microsoft apparently no longer considers them to be the best candidates for the job and instead, Mulally and Nadella have risen to the top.

Since Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down and leaving Microsoft, Nokia's former CEO Stephen Elop had been a crowd favorite and a likely choice. With Microsoft's recent acquisition of Nokia, Elop was nearly as close to the company as Nadella, but with more experience at the head of a major tech firm.

Unlike Mulally, who has stayed quiet regarding Microsoft's interest in him, some of Elop's ideas for how Microsoft would be able to improve have already leaked out to various technology publications. According to those reports, Elop would focus on Microsoft Office and move away from physical devices such as the Surface tablets.

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