According to well-placed sources, Microsoft Corp has already narrowed its list of candidates who could possibly succeed outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer. The shortlist reportedly comprises of about eight people, three from within the company and five external candidates.
The software giant has taken some time to narrow its original list of 40 names down to eight. The ongoing process of selection could still take several more months. But that would not be an issue because the company still has more than enough time to complete the thorough executive search process.
Microsoft has started the process immediately after Ballmer announced his plans to step down from his post in August. He is set to turn over the leadership of the company to the next CEO within a year after his announcement.
Increasing pressure from investors
This early, it should be noted that Microsoft investors have been pushing the board to look for candidates who could bring about reforms to the company. Most of those shareholders specifically prefer a turnaround expert. Not surprisingly, some of them prefer it if Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates would also step down from his post as board chairman. Those investors think he would just stand in the way to welcome radical reforms at the company.
Interestingly, Microsoft remains as a highly profitable firm. In fact, it beat profit expectations when it reported quarterly results last month. It is also logically keeping a strong revenue forecast. What could have displeased its investors is the fact that it has already lost its ground in mobile computing, which is presently dominated by rivals Google Inc and Apple Inc.
Specific names on the list
In his last couple of years in the position, Ballmer has been focusing on manufacturing of devices like the Xbox gaming console and the Surface tablet. He has also moved to start converting key software products into accessible services to users. Many investors want a shift from that strategy.
So who could be on the current CEO shortlist? According to sources, the search committee has started interviewing leaders from other sectors. The external candidates reportedly include former Nokia chief Stephen Elop and Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally. The three internal candidates, according to reports, include cloud and enterprise Chief Satya Nadella and former Skype chief executive Tony Bates. Names of other candidates could not be disclosed by now for logical reasons.
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