Towards the end of last year, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, announced his impending retirement. The decision wasn’t a huge shock – and on reflection the reign of Ballmer, long as it has been, has largely failed to deliver on the company’s potential. In fact, there was plenty of speculation that Ballmer may actually have been fired by Microsoft, as the company look to come out of the consumer tech haze which has seen the company fail to nail a consumer product for over a decade.
In many quarters, the energetic if enigmatic Alan Mulally was the perfect candidate to replace Ballmer. His successes at the Ford motor group have not gone unnoticed outside of the auto industry, and he is seen as a bold and creative leader who could come in and shake the Microsoft ship into shape.
However, that will definitely not be the case. Mulally has ruled himself out of the running and has stated that he has zero interest in becoming the silicon valley giants next leader.
Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally has officially confirmed that he has no interest in becoming Steve Ballmer’s successor at Microsoft. He intends to see out the whole of 2014 at Ford, where they have some interesting new releases and projects, and this in itself, virtually rules him out at Microsoft. Microsoft still intends to have their CEO in place during 2014.
In an interview with the associated press, Mulally said “I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford,” he said.
“You don’t have to worry about me leaving.”
What hasn’t been revealed in all of this is the genuine amount of interest that Microsoft had in taking the Ford leader to the Valley. In respect to the on-going recruitment process, not to mention egos, Microsoft has rightly refused to reveal whether they would
have liked to hire Mulally – and he has not revealed if he was contacted.
Clearly for Mulally, the speculation linking him with Microsoft was becoming a distraction. The CEO of Microsoft job is one of the most powerful and sought after in world business, but let’s not forget, so too is the role that he currently holds. For Ford, the constant speculation linking their valued CEO to a rival post was likely leading to some significant internal pressure being put on to Mulally. For Ford, it was time for him to put up or shut up, meaning that an ultimatum had likely been served. Ford remain dedicated to keeping him in charge, but they needed to know. Either way they wanted a line drawing under the saga, and their boss has now responded.
Either way, for Microsoft it’s back to the drawing board. BurnTech understands that Nokia’s Stephen Elop is now in pole position. Elop is set to return to Microsoft as part of the company’s acquisition of Nokia, which will see him take the role of Vice-president of devices and services. Other internal potentials include Satya Nadella, Tony Bates and Kevin Turner, but it’s believed that Microsoft are still seeking an external viewpoint to help guide the company’s next phase.