Microsoft eyes list of 40 candidates to replace Ballmer: report

Microsoft eyes list of 40 candidates to replace Ballmer: report

Summary: Who will replace outgoing Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer? Some investors want Ford's Alan Mulally or Computer Sciences' Mike Lawrie.

TOPICS: Microsoft
Photos courtesy Microsoft, Ford, CSC

Speculation on who Microsoft will choose to replace outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer has already reached a fever pitch, but that's not stopping the company's own investors from making their preferences known.

Reuters reports today that "at least three of the top 20 investors" in the company "want a turnaround expert to succeed Steve Ballmer as chief executive."

Their suggestions? Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences Corp. CEO Mike Lawrie.

Mulally, 68, is known for turning around the U.S. automaker in the face of the recent global economic downturn. He has indicated that he plans to stay at Ford through 2014. Prior to Ford, Mulally served at Seattle-based Boeing for four decades.

Lawrie, 59, is a life-long information technologist who most recently served at U.K.-based Misys, a global IT solutions provider to the financial services industry. You may know him better as the former CEO of Siebel Systems, the software and solutions company. Before that, he spent almost three decades at IBM.

One, a high-profile manager with little software experience; the other, the very opposite.

Coincidentally, Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes announced this morning that he would be stepping down from that role. The 55-year-old was formerly head of Microsoft's business division.

Reuters' Nadia Damouni, Bill Rigby and Deepa Seetharaman report that Microsoft's special search committee to replace Ballmer has a list "of about 40 people, including internal and external candidates," and is currently working to narrow it down.

Microsoft "could name a CEO as soon as the end of this year," Damouni reports.

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Topic: Microsoft

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • The one glaring omission.

    Is the man that single-handedly, delivered Nokia to Microsoft. Non other that Mr. Microsoft himself Stephen Elop. Elop kept Nokia afloat long enough to prove it was a worthy buy. It had to be, as Microsoft spent nearly $5 Billion, to acquire it. Logically if you take the total price of $7.2 Billion, and subtract the $2.7 Billion in licensing agreements, you're left with the company's value. It roughly comes up to $4.5 Billion, for the once great Nokia.
    Troll Hunter J
  • If I were Microsoft

    I'd pick a NON-CEO, meaning somebody who has technical experiences and background, has extensive management experience, but has NEVER been a CEO before. Why? Simply because every time these companies replace one CEO with another that has CEO experience and background... it blows up in their faces. There are many many examples of this in this and other industries. I would also go outside. Microsoft has been mismanaged for years with stack ranking and simply treating their most valuable people poorly inside the Company. They need new blood from the outside, but again that new blood should be someone with extensive industry and technical knowledge as well as a solid business background, just not another CEO from somewhere else.
    • Agree (in part)

      I agree in part with BruinB88 - - How about one of the Ladies being promoted from within!!!! Perhaps someone with above average Management skills that could overcome all of the internal fighting over who is top dog!!! And receive some backing...
      • Well.. don't mind one of the "Ladies"

        But I think they should go outside. Microsoft has essentially had two CEO's in its history. Both from within the Company. For them to re-invent themselves, which they are attempting to do now, they need someone from outside who can lead and has enough backround and knowledge that the innovative juices will begin to flow within the Company again. A "Lady" from within is still buried in the "old way", they all may be well qualified, but they really need to go outside.
    • RE : If I were Microsoft

      This is a refreshing thought. I would add that the candidate would need some vision (dare I say ala Steve Jobs ?), a generalist who understands the industry from a high-level to low-level perspective, who has dealt in delivering IT to at least a few different verticals, who understands that enterprise computing, home computing, and mobile computing all have purpose and applicability.

      The candidate would have to be able to take advantage of Microsoft's technologies and ideas in delivering solutions to the world. I still lament the passing of Microsoft's Courier tablet.

      The candidate would have to be nice (or at the least, nicer than Ballmer) to build a fruitful organization :

      Finally, the candidate would have to be able to deal firmly with stock analysts who think they run the company as opposed to the management and Board of Directors put in place to run the firm. Is Microsoft a technology and IT services company, or is it a financial institution for analysts ?

      As for a female candidate, I would suggest Ann Livermore from HP : passed over three times for HP CEO position. I do not know her management style other than from Wikipedia.

  • Cut that list to about 15 candidates.

    And then, make a reality tv show, "MS next CEO" with challenges, eliminations, etc.

    Coming to FOX soon!
    • But who to host?

      Details, man, details.
    • How about Donald Trump?

      You're fired!
  • Delay it a few years...

    Obama will need a new gig in 2016.
    • on second thought

      They will be ready for the *new guy* {cough} interim CEO to be replaced by then...
  • If you ask me....

    An untrained monkey could do a better job than Ballmer.
  • 40? Nah mate, just 1

    Only if Elop doesn't have a stash of info proving he was a plant to take down Nokia will 40 even remotely be considered. If he has that, there's no way in this universe he won't get Ballmers chair collection etc.
    • Elop has no shot

      the darkest of horses would easily lap him.