Though there was hope that the great Microsoft CEO hunt would be wrapped up by the end of the year, it now seems that it’s going to continue into next year. John W. Thompson, a board member and chair of the CEO search committee, stated in a post on the Microsoft blog that he expects the selection will be made by “the early part of 2014.”
Thompson revealed some information about the process in his post, writing that the committee initially identified over 100 possible candidates from several different industries, spoke with several dozen, and then narrowed the choices down to a group of about 20. Since then, that group has slowly been slimmed down to the remaining choices.
Current internal candidates in competition for the top job include former Skype CEO Tony Bates and Microsoft enterprise head Satya Nadella. Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia who is joining Microsoft as part of the Nokia devices and services business purchase, has also been mentioned as a possibility, though some rumors point to his selection being less likely. Ford CEO Alan Mulally was named as a strong contender, but he is presumably out of the running after saying he would remain at Ford through 2014. Similarly, Steve Mollenkopf’s name came up only to be quickly dismissed as he took a different CEO position at Qualcomm.
Whoever ends up taking the job will have big shoes to fill. “Microsoft has had only two CEOs in its 38-year history,” Thompson wrote, referring to current CEO Steve Ballmer and company founder Bill Gates. “As a Board, we are determined and confident that the company’s third CEO will lead Microsoft to renewed and continued success.” The new CEO will also need the background to be able to “lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent.”