Microsoft close to naming CEO, Ford's Mulally stays put
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[January 08, 2014]
(Reuters) — Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> is closer to naming a new chief
executive, according to a source familiar with the board's thinking,
but it lost a front-runner candidate on Tuesday when Ford Motor Co's
<F.N> chief, Alan Mulally, said he would not be going to the
Mulally's comments reignited the guessing game over who will take
over at Microsoft, following the elimination in December of another
reported candidate, Qualcomm Inc's <QCOM.O> Steve Mollenkopf.
Microsoft said last month it expects to appoint a new CEO early this
year. It has been seeking a replacement for Steve Ballmer since the
long-time CEO in August announced his plan to retire.
Sources familiar with the process have told Reuters that Microsoft
is down to a "handful" of candidates, including one or more
outsiders from the tech industry, former Nokia <NOK1V.HE> CEO
Stephen Elop and insiders Satya Nadella and Tony Bates.
Mulally, who has never denied his interest in the Microsoft job,
told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he will remain at Ford at
least this year. Two people close to the matter told Reuters that
Mulally is no longer under consideration for the top job at
"Out of respect for the process and the potential candidates, we
don't comment on individual names," a Microsoft spokesman said.
The Ford CEO said he wanted to end the Microsoft speculation
"because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve
Ford." When the AP asked whether his comments should end concerns
from investors about his exit, Mulally said: "You don't have to
worry about me leaving."
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Ford spokesman Jay Cooney confirmed the comments. After news of the
interview, Ford shares rose 1.3 percent in extended trade, while
Microsoft shares fell 1.1 percent.
Several prominent Microsoft investors had campaigned behind the
scenes for Mulally to succeed Ballmer. But one source familiar with
Microsoft's board's discussions said Mulally's candidacy raised
questions about "culture and leadership style".
Mulally's apparent interest in the job attracted considerable media
attention that overshadowed Ford's product-related announcements,
such as the roll-out of the new Mustang, something that frustrated
Ford's board of directors, people familiar with the matter said.
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and
Bernie Woodall in Detroit, Nadia Damouni in New York and Bill Rigby
in Seattle; editing by Dan Grebler, Leslie Adler and Ken Wills)
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