Microsoft CEO won’t be named until 2014, board member says

thompson

John Thompson

Microsoft won’t be getting a new CEO under the tree for the holidays. John Thompson, the Microsoft board member leading the company’s search for Steve Ballmer’s successor, says in a newly published blog post that he expects the company to complete the process until early next year.

Thompson wrote, “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. We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014.”

The post suggests that the search is proving more difficult than expected. People inside the company had said previously that they were hoping to see a successor named this year, to help move the company forward amid a period of unprecedented change. A series of purported front-runners, both inside and outside the company, have been leaked in various media reports, but none of them have proven to be a slam-dunk choice.

Here’s the full text of Thompson’s post, as published on Microsoft’s official blog.

On Aug. 23, we announced that Steve Ballmer would be retiring from Microsoft within 12 months, and the Board of Directors was launching a search for a replacement, looking both externally and internally. Since then, we’ve been focused on finding the best possible person to lead the company. As we approach the end of the calendar year, there has been natural interest in getting an update on where we are in the process. I’m writing to share this with you here.

As the chair of the Board’s search committee, I’m pleased with our progress. The Board has taken the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expect and deserve. After defining our criteria, we initially cast a wide net across a number of different industries and skill sets. 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. We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014.

At the same time, Microsoft has continued to drive hard. Our employees produced strong quarterly results, announced in October. They released new versions of Windows, our Surface products and many other offerings. And the launch of Xbox One was experienced around the world. All of us on the Board appreciate their continued focus and commitment.

At our shareholder meeting in November, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates provided an update on our search process. He noted that this is a complex role to fill, involving a complex business model and the ability to lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent.

Microsoft has had only two CEOs in its 38-year history. As a Board, we are determined and confident that the company’s third CEO will lead Microsoft to renewed and continued success. We’re looking forward to 2014 and the opportunities and decisions that lie ahead.

PreviouslyBill Gates explains what Microsoft needs in a new CEO

  • Guest

    Meanwhile, the platform continues to burn…

    • brokerchange

      12 divisions with over a billion dollars in annual revenue… they’re burning all right…

      • Guest

        Blah blah blah. Nobody cares. What the do care about is the growing irrelevancy of the core OS business. That is the driver of all but a few of these divisions, and as windows goes, so goes the rest of the enterprise and MSFT.

        • AmFuzzy

          With 90% of the desktop/enterprise client business and virtually every Fortune 2000 company uses MSFT server technology if not as the main infrastructure then at least to manage key workloads. You can talk all you want about growing irrelevancy but the data doesn’t support your assertions. MSFT has been a little challenged in the mobility and tablet space mainly for the consumer markets but with the Enterprise (also the largest revenue driver) Microsoft is growing and has several business units that are over a billion in revenues each. Gartner continues to show MSFT as a leader in numerous technology and workload areas. YOU may not like MSFT and not believe they are relevant but your belief doesn’t make it a broad fact.