Now that Alan Mulally is out of the running, where does Microsoft look for their new leader?
A lot of wind was taken out of a great many sails in the past couple of weeks. Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company and thought to be the front runner in Microsoft’s highly visible CEO search, recently took himself out of the running for the Redmond, WA company’s top spot. Now the whole world is wondering what Microsoft will do; and what direction they will head in.
Yes. Microsoft could promote Satya Nadella. That’s still a huge possibility. Based on Mulally’s removal, I’m certain that many – if not most – people are expecting Microsoft to quickly march in that direction. However, that may not be the case. Based on Mulally’s removal, if Nadella was the front runner, this would be a done deal by now.
I think many folks – including those that inhabit Wall Street – are wanting and expecting Microsoft to hire from the outside for this role. I know many in the tech journalism field are a bit happier with those prospects than with the idea of promoting from within. It has nothing to do with Nadella – what he can or cannot do. It has more to do with breaking away from the old guard and starting anew with someone who has a clear understanding of either how to rebuild troubled organizations (as Mulally did) or with someone who has a decent enterprise and mobile computing vision (as Ballmer never had).
Current word on the street is that Microsoft is currently considering Hans Vestberg, CEO of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson for software maker’s the top spot, at least all this, according to Bloomberg. The report, published 2014-01-16, indicated that Vestberg was a “media-savvy technology fanatic,” though many on Wall Street would find his candidacy a surprise. However, with potential external candidates evaporating, I’m not surprised with anyone that Microsoft may give consideration to.
No matter how you slice it, Microsoft is expected to name a new CEO early in Q1 2014. The biggest hurdle that the new CEO will have, is not turning the company around, but likely that both Ballmer and Gates will retain their seats on the Board. I can’t imagine any CEO wanting the company’s two previous CEO’s scrutinizing and critiquing their every move. Ultimately, this may be why Mulally passed on the role.