Ford’s Alan Mulally Waves Goodbye To Microsoft CEO Race

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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The next Microsoft CEO could be promoted from within

Microsoft’s search for a new CEO to replace the outgoing Steve Ballmer has suffered a blow after Ford chief executive Alan Mulally, widely considered as one of the front-runners for the job, ruled himself out of the contest.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Mulally said he had no plans to leave Ford before the end of 2014 and wanted to end “distracting” speculation linking him to a move. He did not say whether he had held discussions with Microsoft regarding the role, however.

Redmond had reportedly been interested in Mulally because of his success at Ford, where he is credited with returning the car manufacturer to profitability and changing the company culture.

Alan Mulally in BrazilMicrosoft CEO search

Mulally was also favoured because of his familiarity with the Microsoft leadership team, having spoken with the management at several meetings, and because he already has a home in the Seattle area where he previously worked for Boeing.

Mulally’s comments increase the possibility that an internal candidate could be promoted, for example Satya Nadella or Tony Bates, who joined Microsoft as part of its acquisition of Skype in 2011. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who will re-join Microsoft once it has completed its takeover of the Finnish manufacturer’s devices and services business, is also in the running.

Ballmer fist

Ballmer revealed last year that he planned to retire from his position within the following 12 months, and Microsoft had hoped to find his successor before the end of 2013. This deadline was not met, leading to suggestions that the continued presence of Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates on the board of directors is putting off potential candidates.

TechWeek cannot confirm whether our readers’ favourite to replace Ballmer, John McAfee, is being considered for the role.

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