Bloomberg the Company & Products

Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Microsoft Board Said to Consider Mulally in Early Search

Don't Miss Out —
Follow us on:
Microsoft Board Said to Consider Mulally as Ford Touts Bench
Alan Mulally, chief executive officer of Ford Motor Co., unveils the S-Max Concept vehicle with Ford SYNC and AppLink during a news conference at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin on Sept. 6, 2013. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. directors have discussed chief executive officer candidates including Ford Motor Co.’s Alan Mulally as they look for a successor to Steve Ballmer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Directors have also floated the names of other candidates including former Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop, who will join Microsoft when its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit closes; Microsoft business development and evangelism chief Tony Bates; and former Microsoft No. 3 executive Paul Maritz, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential.

The search process is still in the early stages and the board isn’t close to making a decision, said the people. The board retained Heidrick & Struggles to look at internal and external candidates after Ballmer, who has led the world’s largest software maker since 2000, said in August that he plans to retire within a year.

The board’s task to find a new CEO is urgent as Microsoft undergoes a strategic change and confronts an altered technology landscape. While it once rode a wave of growth in the personal-computer industry with its Windows operating system, the company has been retooling itself more recently as consumers gravitate to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Shifting Strategy

Ballmer has overhauled Microsoft’s management and strategy to accelerate development of hardware and services, and last month agreed to buy Nokia’s handset unit. Microsoft also has sought to head off shareholder dissent by reaching a cooperation agreement with ValueAct Holdings LP, which would let the activist investor claim a board seat starting next year.

Tony Imperati, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, declined to comment on specific candidates or to make Bates available.

Maritz didn’t respond to a message for comment. Elop didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Ford Motor’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford yesterday touted the abilities of the company’s next generation of executives, while emphasizing the No. 2 U.S. automaker’s plan for Mulally to remain CEO. Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, the top candidate to next lead the Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker, last month reiterated a plan announced in November for the CEO to remain through at least 2014.

Jay Cooney, a spokesman for Ford, said Mulally was unavailable. Mulally hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment on his potential candidacy for the Microsoft job in the past week.

“Alan remains absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan,” Cooney said in an e-mail. “We do not engage in speculation.”

Technology blog AllThingsD reported Mulally’s candidacy for Microsoft’s top job last week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.