Microsoft narrows CEO shortlist to Five

According to reports, Microsoft has narrowed the list of candidates to replace current CEO Steve Ballmer to about five people. Ford CEO Alan Mulally is the most likely successor, but former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is another strong candidate as are former Skype boss Tony Bates who is currently head of Microsoft’s business development and Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise chief. 

Microsoft announced in September that it planned to buy Nokia’s mobile phone and devices business and acquire Stephen Elop’s services along with it. The initial plan called for Elop to become an Executive Vice President at Microsoft, but with Ballmer retiring this may be a very natural transition. Before he became president of Nokia in 2010, Elop ran Michrsoft’s business software division.

Investors are seeking a new CEO who specializes in turning around a business, which is why Ford’s Mulally is the leading candidate. Mulally led ford to reverse its losses and avoid a federal bailout in 2009 when the rest of the industry was under water. Microsoft remains wildly profitable, but has lost ground to Apple and Google in mobile computing.

The process is expected to last another six months, and the decision of whether Microsoft founder Bill Gates remains chairmen of the board will likely affect the choice for the next CEO. Gates has recently been viewed as blocking the radical change necessary to compete with Apple and Google.

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