By RTT News,
December 17, 2013, 10:23:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) expects to narrow in on a new chief executive officer to replace Steve Ballmer in the 'early part of 2014', according to a blog posted on the official Microsoft blog on Tuesday by Director John Thompson. He was providing an update on the CEO search in his capacity as the chairman of the Board's search committee.
"We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen, and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals, all extremely impressive in their own right. As you would expect, as this group has narrowed, we've done deeper research and investigation, including with the full Board. We're moving ahead well, and I expect we'll complete our work in the early part of 2014," Thompson wrote in the blog post.
Lead independent director and former IBM executive John Thompson heads the four member CEO search committee, with Microsoft's founder Bill Gates also being a part of it. The board appointing the special committee to take the process forward. The committee is working with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. ( HSII ).
The CEO search kicked off nearly four months ago after Ballmer bid farewell to employees in his one hour emotional speech at his final company meeting as CEO in late August and announced his decision to retire within the next 12 months.
However, Ballmer is expected to continue to lead the company through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company until a successor is chosen.
The race is hotting up for the top job to head the World's largest software company and become only its third CEO after Gates and Ballmer in its 38-year history.
Ballmer, who joined Microsoft in June 1980, was at the helm of the company for more than 13 years since January 2000. He was the first business manager to be hired by Gates. He took over authority of the company from Gates, who then moved on as chairman and retained control of the "technological vision" as chief software architect.
Recent media reports had projected Ford Motor Co. ( F ) CEO Alan Mulally, Microsoft's Indian-origin cloud chief Satya Nadella and mobile chip maker Qualcomm, Inc.'s (QCOM) President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mollenkopf as the leading contenders for the top job at Microsoft.
However, Mollenkopf could be out of the fray now as he was immediately promoted to CEO of Qualcomm even as media reports were floating on him being considered as a candidate to succeed Ballmer.
Mulally also could be out of the race after he recently reiterated that he was serious about staying with Ford at least through 2014. However, the Ford board said it was open to him leave before then.
As the hunt intensifies to find a suitable successor to Ballmer, it is seen that other shortlisted internal candidates such as former Skye CEO and current Microsoft Business Development Chief Tony Bates, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner as well as Yammer's founder and CEO David Sacks are unlikely to be offered the top job.
Others with an outside chance are Computer Sciences Corp. ( CSC ) CEO John Michael Lawrie, former Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky, Vmware, Inc. (VMW) CEO Patrick Gelsin, and former Juniper Networks, Inc. ( JNPR ) CEO Kevin Johnson.
"Microsoft has had only two CEOs in its 38-year history. As a Board, we are determined and confident that the company's third CEO will lead Microsoft to renewed and continued success. We're looking forward to 2014 and the opportunities and decisions that lie ahead," Thompson added.
In the words of Gates, "this is a complex role to fill, involving a complex business model and the ability to lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent."
MSFT closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $36.52, down $0.36 or 0.99% on a volume of 45.69 million shares.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org