"We don't comment on the speculation," Mulally said in response to a question from The Associated Press on the company's third-quarter earnings conference call.
Mulally, 68, repeated that there's no change in Ford's plan for him to stay as CEO through the end of 2014. He has held the top post since 2006, when he was hired from aviation giant Boeing to rescue the company. Ford is set to report its fifth-straight profitable year under Mulally.
Redmond-based Microsoft Corp. is reportedly considering Mulally as a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer, who intends to step down in less than a year.
One management expert said the Ford CEO's no-comment indicates that he has some interest in the Microsoft job.
"His non-denial denial means that he's either talking to them or that he wishes he were talking to them," said Yale University management and law professor Jonathan Macey, who has written a book on corporate governance.
Mulally said Thursday that nothing has changed since last November, when Ford announced that he would stay through 2014 and that veteran executive Mark Fields would take over day-to-day business as chief operating officer. Fields ran the company's Americas operations for seven years, turning them into a profit machine. His appointment as COO is a strong indication that the board favors him to replace Mulally.
Mulally hasn't denied reports that Microsoft is courting him. His name surfaced shortly after Ballmer said in August that he would retire. The two are friends, and Mulally still has a home in the Seattle area. Ballmer even spoke with Mulally over coffee about a wide-ranging reorganization that Microsoft announced in July.
Earlier this week Oracle President Mark Hurd said he's not planning to become the next Microsoft CEO.
MORE HBJ HEADLINES
Already, EvCC to expand Advanced Manufacturing center U.S., 11 Pacific Rim countries reach trade deal Reports: VW investigation focusing on development managers Rolls-Royce plans $600M upgrade of Indianapolis plant Greek creditors hope loans payout in mid-October Workers tear shirts off Air France managers in jobs protest
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.