Ford Chief Could Replace Ballmer As Microsoft CEO

Dennis Faas's picture

Ford Motor Company's chief executive officer is reportedly the new front-runner to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. According to technology blog AllThingsD, Alan Mulally has "warmed" to the idea of taking over as CEO of the Redmond, Washington-based firm.

Ballmer announced his retirement last month but doesn't plan to leave Microsoft for another eleven months or so. That means there's lots of time for the media to speculate about who might replace Ballmer as head of one of the world's largest and most influential tech companies.

Sources Say Mulally "Amenable" to Idea of Replacing Ballmer

AllThingsD says it has learned from its sources (who remain unnamed) that Mulally has come around to the idea of taking over for Ballmer. AllThingsD's Kara Swisher says those sources -- who she insists are "close to the situation" -- have indicated that Mulally "has become more amenable to the idea in recent weeks." (Source:

Mulally has been chief executive officer at Ford for seven years, meaning he helped take the firm through one of the toughest recessions in recent memory.

Ford emerged from the 2008 economic crisis without accepting a government bailout -- it's something the company's major U.S. rivals, Chrysler and General Motors, can't claim.

Today, Ford is well on its way to re-establishing itself as a front-runner in the international automotive industry, and that reflects very well on its chief executive.

No doubt some investors believe Mulally can have the same success reversing Microsoft's fortunes since the somewhat disastrous launches of Windows 8 and the Surface tablet computer last year.

Elop, Larson-Green Remain Popular Candidates

Of course, Mulally is hardly the only candidate being considered by a special hiring committee headed by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

For the past month most of the discussion about a possible replacement for Ballmer has centered on Stephen Elop, chief executive officer at Nokia. Elop and Ballmer established a close relationship when Nokia adopted Microsoft's Windows Phone platform for its smartphone hardware.

Of course, there's also the possibility that Microsoft will pick one of its many current star executives to replace Ballmer. Other candidates reportedly include executive vice presidents Tony Bates and Julie Larson-Green. (Source:

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