Several candidates have popped up in the past few months, most notably Stephen Elop and Alan Mullaly (pictured). Elop is the former CEO of Nokia, which Microsoft bought shortly after Ballmer's retirement announcement. Mullaly has been the CEO of Ford since 2006.
Today, Reuters is reporting that Microsoft has narrowed its CEO search down to just five people. The report cites unnamed "sources familiar with the matter" as stating that Microsoft originally fielded a list of 40 candidates for the position.
Elop and Mullaly are reportedly still top candidates for the position. In addition, Reuters' sources list three Microsoft executives as possible CEO candidates - Tony Bates, Satya Nadella, and one other unnamed employee. Bates is the current EVP of Microsoft Business Development, and was formerly the CEO of Skype before its acquisition by Microsoft. Nadella is the EVP of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division.
Though Microsoft was reportedly hoping to have a new CEO by the end of the year, Reuters' sources have stated that the CEO search could still "take a few more months." That report also states that unnamed "sources familiar with the conversations" have revealed that the board's CEO search committee has been "speaking with" dissenting shareholders during the search.