Steve Ballmer and Alan Mulally
Steve Ballmer and Alan Mulally

One of the more interesting candidates we’ve heard discussed as the possible next Microsoft CEO is Ford’s Alan Mulally, interesting in part because he is a pal of Steve Ballmer’s; has repositioned Ford and has roots in the Northwest as the former boss of Boeing’s commercial aircraft business.

But don’t look for Mulally to move to Redmond, at least not anytime soon. The 68-year-old tells Bloomberg News that he’ll continue to serve as CEO of Ford “until at least the end of 2014.”

“I love serving Ford and will continue serving Ford,” Mulally said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Well, who does that leave Microsoft to tap? As Todd Bishop and I discuss in this weekend’s GeekWire radio show, the money right now is on Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. That speculation heated up this week after Microsoft decided to buy Nokia’s mobile phone business for $7.2 billion, with Elop planning to rejoin his former employer as Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices

At 68, Mulally is 11 years older than Ballmer, and my gut says the software giant may go younger for their next CEO. If they want to go very young, they could tap Box CEO Aaron Levie, who grew up on Mercer Island, a few miles from Microsoft’s campus. The 27-year-old has been an outspoken critic of Microsoft over the years, and, interestingly he just tapped former Windows boss Steven Sinofsky as an adviser.

Last week, Levie told GeekWire in a lighthearted matter that he’s not interested in the job and has not been approached about the gig. “I think that’s a little bit too difficult of a challenge at the moment,” said Levie with a laugh.

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  • Formermsftie

    Microsoft needs a CEO that is not just able to run it, but gives it a soul.

    • Puhlease

      Like, um…Google?

  • stillin

    Funny I was just thinking about Mulally too yesterday evening. Not only he was successful at Ford and Being and he is a local, but more importantly because with Nokia in MSFT now, the company will need a CEO that understand what it takes to run an enterprise that not only sell air (software) but runs data centers, factories, supply chains, retail stores, etc.. Maybe one of Jeff Immelt’s Lieutenants (Jeff was a cubicle buddy of Steve Ballmer after all) at GE? Someone that managed to get that high in GE, especially the one(s) that are driving their Internet of Things initiative, would probably be a great bet for MSFT.

  • A

    From an organizational point Mulally is perfect for what Microsoft needs to do to become leaner and faster. Their main problem is being 1 to 2 product cycles behind the competition.

    I believed a year ago he would be the top successor and still do today and will next Spring. He can say he won’t leave early but so did Ballmer for the past few years. I think this has been the hopeful plan and conversation.

    Elop would be a disaster. Lacks market common sense.

  • Guest

    MS can’t even change CEOs with agility. No wonder they’re losing.

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