Microsoft considers Mulally for top job

SEATTLE — Microsoft directors have discussed chief executive officer candidates including Ford’s Alan Mulally as they look for a successor to Steve Ballmer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Directors have also floated the names of other candidates including Nokia Oyj CEO Stephen Elop, who will join Microsoft when its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset unit closes; Microsoft business development and evangelism chief Tony Bates; and former Microsoft No. 3 executive Paul Maritz, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is confidential.

The search process is still in the early stages and the board isn’t close to making a decision, said the people. The board retained Heidrick &Struggles to look at internal and external candidates after Ballmer, who has led the world’s largest software maker since 2000, said in August that he plans to retire within a year.

The board’s task to find a new CEO is urgent as Microsoft undergoes a strategic change and confronts an altered technology landscape. While it once rode a wave of growth in the personal- computer industry with its Windows operating system, the company has been retooling itself more recently as consumers gravitate to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Ballmer has overhauled Microsoft’s management and strategy to accelerate development of hardware and services, and last month agreed to buy Nokia’s handset unit. Microsoft also has sought to head off shareholder dissent by reaching a cooperation agreement with ValueAct Holdings LP, which would let the activist investor claim a board seat starting next year.

Tony Imperati, a spokesman for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, declined to comment on specific candidates or to make Bates available.

Maritz didn’t respond to a message for comment. Elop didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Ford Motor’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford on Tuesday touted the abilities of the company’s next generation of executives, while emphasizing the No. 2 U.S. automaker’s plan for Mulally to remain CEO. Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, the top candidate to next lead the Dearborn, Mich.-based carmaker, last month reiterated a plan announced in November for the CEO to remain through at least 2014.

Jay Cooney, a spokesman for Ford, said Mulally was unavailable. Mulally hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment on his potential candidacy for the Microsoft job in the past week.

“Alan remains absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan,” Cooney said in an e-mail. “We do not engage in speculation.”

Technology blog AllThingsD reported Mulally’s candidacy for Microsoft’s top job last week.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tesla rolls out the design for its 500-mile electric big rig

The truck will have an Autopilot system, which can maintain a set speed and slow down in traffic.

How Airbus’s A380 deal with Emirates evaporated in Dubai

It came down to concern by Emirates that Airbus might shut down the jumbo program.

Equipment rental and sales business H&E opens Mukilteo shop

Company hopes to capitalize on construction occuring in northwest Washington.

New Chick-fil-A draws dozens of campers in Bothell

A second restaurant of the popular chain is opening on Thursday.

Tulalip Resort Casino to feature locally grown hazelnuts

The resort wanted to put a focus on meals created with the nut.

Alderwood Water general manager named president of state association

Alderwood Water & Wastewater District General Manager Jeff Clarke has been installed… Continue reading

Boeing earns top marks for LGBTQ workplace policies

Boeing was one of 609 businesses nationwide to earn a 100-point score… Continue reading

Derided by critics, trickle-down economics gets another try

The concept — also known as supply-side economics — has frequently drawn ridicule.

Richard Branson’s 747 to launch satellites for the Pentagon

Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket would be “air launched” from a 747-400 it calls “Cosmic Girl.”

Most Read