Microsoft has been in search of Steve Ballmer’s replacement for a good couple of months now, with sources claiming its selection committee has considered more than 100 candidates, narrowing this number down to a shortlist of just 20.
With that, the company is said to be ready to announce Ballmer’s replacement in early 2014.
Earlier reports had suggested that the committee, led by John Thompson, would be ready to announce the replacement this month, but it seems less likely to happen now.
Top choices for the position include Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Microsoft Executive VP Tony Bates, Microsoft Executive VP Satya Nadella, Computer Sciences Corp CEO Mike Lawrie, and Microsoft COO Kevin Turner. The company is said to be looking at executives from a wide range of sectors, including life sciences and consumer.
More recently, it was reported that Microsoft is also considering Qualcomm Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf for its most coveted role. However, a recent turn of events appears to have put both Mollenkopf and Mullaly out of the race. In Mollenkopf case, he’s likely to stay where he is, as Qualcomm has since announced that he will be the company’s next CEO, while Mullaly has publicly stated that he’ll be staying at Ford until the end of 2014.
Microsoft has to make a tough choice if it’s to land right CEO. Will the company go for someone who is a product visionary or a professional manager?
It’s fair to say that Microsoft is in disarray at the moment, what with all the changes happening with its corporate blueprint, its mobile failings and the poor reception of Windows 8. Clearly, Microsoft is in need of someone highly professional to turn its fortunes around.
“Microsoft has two paths it can take: it can hire a product visionary or a professional manager,” says Rocky Agrawal, analyst at reDesign mobile and a former Microsoft employee.
“It seems from all the talk to date, Microsoft is headed in the direction of hiring a professional manager.”
Another quality that Microsoft’s next CEO needs to possess is the vision and drive to make things happen. Ballmer has often been accused of lacking vision, which is why it fell so far behind in the mobile race and this has had a negative impact on morale at the company. Above all else, what Microsoft needs is a leader who can predict the next big trend and act on it before anyone else does.