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No end in sight to the Microsoft CEO search

January 8th, 2014 at 5:40 PM
Microsoft CEO Search Update

According to a report from Re/code, Microsoft is still searching for its next CEO and it could keep searching for a while. Right now, unnamed sources tell Re/code, the biggest obstacle is chairman Bill Gates’ schedule. He presents his annual letter for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on January 20th and heads to the World Economic Forum at Davos on January 22nd and he won’t want to distract from his philanthropic efforts by announcing a new CEO. 

Re/code’s sources say that while former Symantec CEO John Thompson is leading the search, it looks like Gates will have the final say on Ballmer’s successor. In particular, one source said that “nothing is going to happen without [Gates], especially since he will be much more involved in the company going forward.”

Microsoft will likely not announce its next CEO until at least February, if not later. It’ll want to avoid CES news, and its execs wil be busy preparing for its second-quarter earnings on January 23rd. Re/code sources say the search is “likely to extend at least into February and perhaps longer, although the hope is for sooner than later.”

And it still sounds like Microsoft isn’t much closer to making a decision. Top candidate and Ford CEO Alan Mulally said earlier this week that he would be staying with Ford. Besides Mulally, other top candidates include Micrsoft’s enterprise head Satya Nadella, strategy head Tony Bates, and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. Microsoft is also looking at outside candidates, including VMware CEO Patrick Gelsinger and former VMware CEO Paul Maritz. Maritz has reportedly taken himself out of the running. As a real long shot, Re/code speculates that Thompson could choose himself.

In his letter last December, Thompson said he expects to find a new CEO by “the early part of 2014.”

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