After Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire within the next 12 months, the company has been trying to figure out the best candidate to replace him. According to a new report, it could be Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally.
According to AllThingsD, Microsoft and Mulally are in serious talks, though no formal contract negotiations have begun.
In early September Mulally denied leaving Ford, but Reuters reported the board at Ford gave Mulally the option to leave earlier than his contract states.
For some, Mulally may not be the best choice because he has no high-tech connections. However, Mulally has experience saving companies, seen during his time as executive vice president of Boeing and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, as well as his current job as CEO of Ford.
Mulally already has some connection to Microsoft. While Ballmer was trying to create a new management structure for Microsoft, Mulally was one of his close advisers. Microsoft shifted from working in silos to working together. Ballmer's "One Microsoft" has many similarities to Mulally's "One Ford." Both have every arm of the company working together toward the same goal.
Ballmer himself sang Mulally's praises not too long ago. In an article Ballmer wrote for Time magazine in 2009, he said of Mulally, “Changing industries can upset even the most seasoned executive. Not Alan. He understands the fundamentals of business success as well as any business leader I know.”
Mulally wasn't the first name thrown around to take over as CEO of Microsoft. When Ballmer first announced his retirement, the front runner was Nokia CEO Stephon Elop, who also happened to be a former Microsoft executive. The rumor around Elop was heightened when Microsoft acquired Nokia, and in turn, Elop.
Another top contender is Microsoft executive and former CEO of Skype, Tony Bates. Pivotal CEO and former Microsoft executive, Paul Maritz, is also in contention for the spot.
Mulally may have personal reasons to take the Microsoft job. His wife, friends, and home are all in Washington.
Neither Microsoft, Ford, nor Mulally have yet to make a comment.
I guess only time will tell who will be the new CEO of Microsoft.