It might sound like something you’ll hear from a TV-based model search, but that’s the question that’s been on most tech-watchers lips since Steve Ballmer announced he’ll be stepping down from the position as soon as the company finds a suitable replacement.
For weeks, much of the speculation centered on individuals that already occupy senior positions in the company, while ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was also said to be a front-runner for the job after Microsoft acquired his old company. Now though, we could be in for a surprise, with a report from AllThingsD stating that Ford (yes, the car maker) CEO Alan Mulally is now leading the race, even though he’s previously denied he wants to leave the company.
“I continue to be focused on serving Ford … and I have my red Ford vest on right now,” Mulally said in an earlier interview.
Since that statement was made, other sources claim that the Ford CEO has become amenable to the possibility of accepting the position at Redmon. Mulally is expected to continue serving as the company’s CEO until 2014 but a report from Reuters stated that Ford’s board is willing to let him go earlier, giving him the chance to explore other lucrative roles. Sources claim that the board is letting Mulally decide when to exit the company. It was said that Mulally was considering a position in the Obama administration, but it seems like he’s now taking into consideration Microsoft’s offer.
As for why Mulally has been considered for the position, aside from the fact that he was a close adviser to Ballmer regarding the company’s new business strategy, he served as the former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle.
Heidrick & Struggles, along with Microsoft’s special committee, is tasked to find Ballmer’s replacement. Aside from Elop and Mulally, the task force is said to be considering Microsoft exec Tony Bates, previous CEO of Skype, and former Microsoft exec and current Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz.