Microsoft Has New Frontrunner to Replace Steve Ballmer as CEO. Four months after Microsoft announced that longtime CEO Steve Ballmer would retire, the company is reportedly close to naming a replacement.
Bloomberg reports that Microsoft’s board is close to naming Satya Nadella as its next CEO. Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992 and has run a number of divisions in the past. He currently heads up the company’s cloud and enterprise efforts.
The selection isn’t finalized, according to the report, but Nadella has apparently edged out dozens of other candidates inside and outside the company, including Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, former Skype CEO Tony Bates and Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf. Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford, was rumored to be the frontrunner for awhile, but bowed out in early January.
An earlier report from Re/code also noted that Nadella was considered the leading candidate, though suggested it was more tentative.
That report also noted the announcement could come as soon as the next week. Microsoft itself said in December that it expected a decision to be made in early 2014.
The bigger surprise in the Bloomberg report is the possibility that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates may be replaced as the company’s chairman, possibly by the person leading the CEO search, John Thompson.
The report cites anonymous sources who say the move is being discussed, though it too is certainly not finalized. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that some candidates felt uncomfortable about taking over the CEO role if Gates and Ballmer remained on the board.