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Microsoft: New CEO Will Not Be Named Until 2014

Microsoft's search for a successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer is not likely to conclude before the new year, the company said this week.

Ballmer announced this summer that he intends to retire by August 2014 or earlier, if a new CEO is named before then. Since Ballmer's announcement, Microsoft has formed a succession-planning and CEO search committee to research and vet possible candidates.

In a blog post Tuesday, Microsoft board member John W. Thompson gave a brief update on the search. Thompson, who heads the CEO search committee, said he expects the process of culling a new CEO from the current crop of candidates to conclude "in the early part of 2014."

Microsoft's CEO search initially started with a pool of over 100 contenders, both external and from within the company, who represent "a number of different industries and skill sets," according to Thompson.

"We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen, and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals, all extremely impressive in their own right. As you would expect, as this group has narrowed, we've done deeper research and investigation, including with the full Board," he wrote. Thompson did not say how small the current crop of candidates is.

Since Ballmer announced his intent to step down, speculation regarding who may be on Microsoft's CEO shortlist has been rampant. Frequently mentioned as possible front-runners are Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, which Microsoft is set to acquire; Tony Bates, former CEO of Skype and current executive vice president of Microsoft's Business Development and Evangelism group; Satya Nadella, executive vice president for Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group; and Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Mulally seemed to be a particularly likely choice, according to industry watchers, but questions surround his availability. Earlier this month, a Ford board member was quoted by Bloomberg as indicating that Mulally intends to stay at the automaker through the end of 2014. However, a Reuters report from Monday suggests that Ford's board is preparing for Mulally to step down relatively soon -- whether or not he is tapped to become Microsoft's CEO.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.