Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Steve Ballmer - The Exit Interview

Mulally ends Microsoft CEO speculation. He's out

Cross another one off the Microsoft Next CEO list. Ford CEO Alan Mullaly has said he isn't taking the job, according to the Associated Press.

After months of non-denying denials, Ford CEO Alan Mulally has finally said he isn't going to take the open CEO job at Microsoft.


In a January 7 interview with the Associated Press, Mulally said he is not planning to leave Ford for Microsoft and that he will stay at Ford at least through 2014. The Associated Press Twitter account tweeted the news around 5:20 p.m. ET.

Mulally said he wanted to put an end to the speculation regarding him going to Microsoft and finally decided to speak definitively about rumors that he might be the successor to outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Mulally declined to comment as to whether he spoken with anyone at Microsoft about the CEO job, according to the AP report.

Back in December 2013, Reuters reported that the Ford board of directors, meeting on December 12, planned to pressure CEO Mulally to answer directly whether or not was in the running to replace outgoing Ballmer. Mulally's handlers have been in non-denial denial mode.

The reason, as Reuters reported, citing "one source close to Ford's board": "People don't write about Mustang, they don't write about earnings, they write about Mulally."

Microsoft still has yet to announce who will be the next CEO at the company. Some had expected the announcement to happen before the end of 2013. Microsoft officials have said that the new CEO will be named in early 2014 . The company is believed to be continuing to consider both internal and external candidates. Internal names that have been bandied about include Cloud & Enterprise chief Satya Nadella and Business Development chief Tony Bates, as well as Nokia CEO Steven Elop. 

Mulally has been a friend and advisor to Ballmer over the years. Microsoft's "One Microsoft" reorg is believed to have been influenced heavily by the "One Ford" structure.

I've asked Microsoft officials for comment on the AP report. No word back so far.

Update: "“Out of respect for the process and the potential candidates, we don’t comment on individual names," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

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