Mulally’s Exit Leaves Only a ‘Wealth of Microsoft Insiders’ Lacking Experience

Once thought to be a favorite in the running to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft, Ford boss Alan Mulally is reportedly off the short list.

A member of the Ford board of directors and Ford family told Bloomberg TV that Mulally will remain CEO until the end of the next year, months after Ballmer has promised to step down.

No one said that this CEO search was going to be quick or easy," noted Yankee Group VP of research Carol Howe, commenting specifically on an article by The Verge. "While Mulally would have been the equal to some of our suggestions to Microsoft, we never expected that Microsoft would be able to lure him away from Ford."

That leaves a handful of Microsoft execs or execs from companies that Microsoft has acquired or is in the process of acquiring as likely replacements for Ballmer. They include Nokia boss Stephen Elop, former Skype CEO Tony Bates, and Satya Nadella, who heads up the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant’s cloud and enterprise business.

"Unfortunately, with Mulally out of the running, Microsofts short list of candidates contains a wealth of Microsoft insiders and few who have experience leading large enterprises through a market disruption," Howe added. "With current CEO Steve Ballmer now a lame duck, we continue to believe that Microsoft should take a page from BlackBerrys playbook and bring in an interim CEO. That interim executive could then effectively direct day-to-day strategy while leading a more exhaustive search for a permanent CEO. Such an approach wouldnt require Microsoft to hit a home run on the first pitch and would open up more opportunities to recruit candidates from outside the firm.”

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