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Microsoft Narrows Down CEO Shortlist: Elop, Mulally, Bates, Nadella In Mix 183

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the surprise-surprise-elop-wins dept.
rjmarvin writes "Sources have confirmed that Microsoft has narrowed down its search for its next CEO to five external candidates and at least two internal candidates. Rumored frontrunner Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO, and Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally are reportedly in contention, along with Microsoft's Skype head Tony Bates and their cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella. The other external candidates who've emerged from the approximately 40 rumored names swirling around since August have not yet been revealed."
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Microsoft Narrows Down CEO Shortlist: Elop, Mulally, Bates, Nadella In Mix

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  • by jamesl (106902) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:34PM (#45346075)

    Those that know aren't talking. And those that are talking don't know.

    Sources. Ha!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:49PM (#45346263)

      There's no way this goes to anyone but Elop.

      Mulally would be the best pick, which is why it's not going to be him.

      • 'internal' hire (Score:3, Insightful)

        by globaljustin (574257)

        There's no way this goes to anyone but Elop.

        yup...agree...

        Elop is listed as an 'outside' candidate, but he was essentially a mole for M$ for his whole debacle at Nokia. He went in, ran that company into the ground...now he gets his reward.

        Watching M$ die its weird death is sort of like the scene in Blade Runner when Pris is killed and does that awesome android freak out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9t5ikxjAQ4 [youtube.com]

        • by JeffAtl (1737988)

          Like tears in the rain...

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Watching M$ die its weird death is sort of like the scene in Blade Runner when Pris is killed and does that awesome android freak out

          Death spiral? He's not dead yet. Your comment reminds me of the Holy Grail of Death:

          CART MASTER: Bring out your dead!

          CUSTOMER: Here's one.

          CART MASTER: Nine pence.

          DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!

          CART MASTER: What?

          CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here's your nine pence.

          DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!

          CART MASTER: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!

          CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.

          DEAD PERSON: I'm not!

          CART MASTER: He isn't?

      • by cusco (717999) <brian DOT bixby AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:37PM (#45346807)

        Mulally would be the best pick

        Why? The whole Cult Of The CEO revolves around the magical mystical "leadership" aura that supposedly inhabits the specially gifted and turns everything they touch to gold. What a steaming pile of horsepuckey. Saying that Mulally is the best pick because he has succeeded running factories in the past (never mind that most of his success seems to have been lucky timing) is like saying that since my brother knows how to run a remodeling company he would be the best person possible to manage a restaurant chain.

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          The whole Cult Of The CEO revolves around the magical mystical "leadership" aura that supposedly inhabits the specially gifted and turns everything they touch to gold.

          If that was true, 'former Nokia CEO' Flop sure as heck wouldn't be in the list.

        • by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:58PM (#45346999)
          I largely share your skepticism, but Microsoft seems almost uniquely positioned to get a lot of value from a real leader, if they can find one. On the one hand, it is a highly profitable company with huge resources and a culture of making large, sustained investments. On the other hand, it seems to have trouble rallying around an uncompromised, clear-minded vision.

          The truth is Microsoft could also make a lot of money for many years yet with nothing at the top but a hard-nosed accountant/administrator. But it could also be much more. I suppose most likely they will get the administrator and pay him like a visionary.

          • if they can find one

            They certainly can find one. What's open to question is if they'll accept one.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @02:26PM (#45347289)

          Why?

          Because he's not a microsoft technology nerd.

          Microsoft needs someone at the top who uses their products the way someone who isn't surrounded by microsofties every day does. So they can get their shit together on design. Windows 8 is an example of doing a great job executing a terrible idea. That has to stop. Now.

          It also needs someone who recognizes there is a market beyond himself and can support that (this is where Steve jobs always struggled) - car guys get that. This car might not be for me, but there is a market for it.

          It also needs someone with an internal employee evaluation system that is going to actually make supportive of co-workers and that rewards everyone doing great work when they do.

          Ideally microsoft needs someone who can decide what direction to take the company - an open services and software company that supports a large collection of partners, or a device and services company that has no friends. And to decide which of those is best for shareholders they need someone from outside the microsoft bubble.

          Mulally isn't necessarily the best pick - but of the list of known candidates from outside MS he's got a decent track record.

          • by tnk1 (899206)

            I wholeheartedly agree that the employee rating system needs to be less about competing with your co-workers and more about competing with your actual competitors.

            While there does need to be some accounting for people who are not performing, you don't create a system that tries to find that out at the cost of completely undercutting your own teams.

            I've met people who are shitty at their jobs, but excellent at backstabbing. MS already has too much of that. Hopefully they pick a CEO who changes that, but th

        • If Ford autos under Mulally's watch was known for bad Microsoft software (Sync is regarded as a source of trouble by Consumer Reports), will Windows start shipping with failing automobile transmissions?
      • Mulally would be the best pick, which is why it's not going to be him.

        Mulally the best pick? He did an incredible job at Boeing and Ford but why would that experience translate to Microsoft? Microsoft isn't building passenger carrying vehicles out of metal and composites.

        Brilliance is domain specific. Being a rocket scientist, and Mulally literally is one, doesn't mean you will excel in any field.

    • The rumors I heard suggest the new CEO will be a strong contender from the 'unnamed' list: Clippy [time.com].

    • Why not? Seems to me that CEOs are basically celebrities. They don't directly generate anything that is worth what they are paid. It's their name that gets other people excited and gets the money flowing. Keeping it secret doesn't make a whole lot of sense if the only reason they're considering Elop is to make the stock price go up. "Elop!?! WOW!!! I KNOW THAT NAME, BUY BUY BUY!!! I hear he's already made more money for MS than the outgoing CEO did!!!"

      I mean, it's not like he's good actually leadi [img.yle.fi]
      • To fair to Elop - though i'm not sure i care much about the whole argument - nokia's nosedive in the market looks pretty consistent with ericsson and rim. The only exception to that general trend was apple and samsung, probably because they were the fresh perspective. Boring old cellphones designs along the lines of nokia etc. just weren't wanted. Not that he did a great job, but he did as good a job as many of his competitors did. Not a ringing endorsement of his potential though.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:34PM (#45346077) Journal

    where the list gets narrowed down daily and the winner is announced after 3 days? In the case of MS, looks like this joke will go on for a year.

    My hunch is that Elop already holds the reins to the ruins; this media contest is just a soapera.

  • Elop needs to broker a deal with Apple to bring down the MS share prices enough to be bought out.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I posted about this before, but if Elop gets put on charge then MS gets sold to Oracle in 3 years : BECAUSE CLOUD!

      if you look at the stats then ms os stats on devices are going down(due to mobile phones) so it would make perfect sense to announce it as a burning platform(if you totally forget year on year income etc, which he did or rather ignored on purpose before) and that they're going all cloud on everything and........ yeah.

    • How many commercial consumer desktops would that leave? I don't know sounds like a bad idea....

      With Win 8 and it's not so good reception what are we going to be doing in 5 yrs? Who knows, it's up in the air... Will Apple take over the business desktop, will MS pull it out of the toilet, or will super cheap super small ARM Android workstations sucker punch everyone {I say sucker punch because I don't think it is very likely but then again I also thought the CD was a stupid idea}.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Microsoft owns the "business desktop" for as long as it will continue to exist - eventually the concept will fade, replaced by BYOD and thin clients talking to cloud apps. Sure, that will take a decade at least, but no one big enough to matter is going to enter an obviously fading market.

        • BYOD not so sure... Some places it might be alright but Imagine a large business with tens of thousands of underpaid non-technical customer service/sales types using a random bunch of devices they are responsible to maintain and secure.

          • by lgw (121541)

            If it matters whether endpoint devices are "secure" you're doing BYOD completely wrong. You never let the endpoints have a file, or anything else of value that could be harvested if the device were stolen. You want them as stateless at the thin clients.

            As for maintain, that's just like the car you use to get to work: your problem. That's why businesses love BYOD - it pushes the most equipment concerns off of support and on to the employee.

            • You are correct in endpoints not storing anything, but if the endpoint is not secure it can experience downtime which == loss.

              The real question is how much loss sometimes it just costs less to supply the device. {I've worked placed where they measured profits in staff per 15 minute interval}

              • by lgw (121541)

                The best wins I've personally seen are in hardware support for remote employees. Moving a hardware issue from "a tech will come visit you" to "we've fedexd you a new one" was an amazing difference, but that was thin clients not BYOD. Cost of device wasn't directly a good measure (it costs a lot for a good remote desktop management solution), but "cheap enough to stop trying to repair" was what mattered.

                • We have remote users some are BYOD.

                  Occasionally some {clueless} middle manager asks if I can go to a users home {usually 800 miles away} sure that requires air travel, car rental, and hotel but if you really want to help them out since it's their laptop they could just take it to best buy and you can reimburse them.

  • by balaband (1286038) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:37PM (#45346117)

    ...that guy that drives companies into ground.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:42PM (#45346177)

      Nah, we're sad that Ballmers fail train is leaving the station.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Ballmer is leaving, did you not know that?

      Elop would not surprise me after the hit job he did on Nokia.

    • by neurovish (315867)

      ...that guy that drives companies into ground.

      Elop? Nokia was already in a nosedive when he started. If anything, he just guided them to a softer crash into a fluffy Microsoft pillow. Before that, the article says he ran MS's business software unit, which is one of the massively profitable divisions. Microsoft doesn't really need a "turnaround", just a focusing of efforts.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        What?
        He osborned the company while it was still profitable. He put out the N900 and let it flounder even when it outsold the windows phones.

        He refused to even consider android, when it would have been possible to make their Linux Phones compatible with it.

        • He considered android and chose not to use it, there is a difference. You could say it may have worked out well for Nokia had they picked android. Then again look at who tried Android: Dell, HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Lenovo, etc. The only one that can safely say they did well with the android platform is Samsung. That is one winner and most of the other companies were destroyed in the process. The android market was a knife fight, it is not insane to decide not to participate in it.
          • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:39PM (#45346831)

            No, he did not consider it. He was going to use WinPhone no matter what.

            If you have no other options a knife fight is a fine choice. LG seems to be doing fine as well. Dell is trying again and moto finally seems to have some traction with the X.

            The N900 could have been the beginning of going their own way. It at least would have given them a chance at something.

            Elop wanted WinPhone to succeed, Nokia was secondary to that.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:18PM (#45346579) Homepage

        Elop? Nokia was already in a nosedive when he started. If anything, he just guided them to a softer crash into a fluffy Microsoft pillow.

        They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here [yimg.com]. They had ten stable quarters with >6 billion in revenue and >500 million euro profit, the Windows Phone deal is announced and boom they go from a 750 million euro profit to a 200 million euro loss and their sales have been in free fall ever since. Yes they needed a revitalization in the smart phone market where Apple and Google were kicking their ass, but they had sales and profits to fix that. Until Elop issued his "burning platform" memo and announced an all-out switch to Microsoft, that is. If Microsoft hires him it's nothing but kickback for burning Nokia to the ground to promote Windows Phone.

        • by Kingkaid (2751527)
          The picture is worth 1000 words, but make sure you have the right data on the picture. Nokia was making money hand over first, and there is a large dip in 2009, and it was trending down for 2 years beforehand. Know why? Well Apple came out with something called the iphone. Suddenly anything Nokia had paled by comparison. The point is that Nokia was dying before Elop came to power. I've read the public board minutes when they were busy picking a new CEO, they knew they were in trouble. They picked Elop since
          • by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @02:28PM (#45347313)

            Mod parent up – and here is my 2 cents.

            In a market that is exploding having consistent revenue and profits is not a good thing. It means you are being left behind.

            If you are a company whose products are drifting away from the high-end high-margin end of the market to the low-end low-margin is a troubling sign. It could mean you company is heading towards irrelevance.

            Nokia was heading the wrong direction and a big change was needed. Either Nokia was too far gone or Elop was not up to the job – probably a bit of both.

            • They didn't have consistent revenue, their smartphone unit was increasing both marketshare and revenue at a greater rate than either apple or android. Until Elop decided to release his "Burning Platforms" memo and trashed the company. http://seekingalpha.com/article/916271-how-stephen-elop-destroyed-nokia [seekingalpha.com]
              • Emotionally I know where you are coming from. I am still bitter that Apple’s Mac beat the technically superior Amiga 2000. But there does come a tipping point when the tide of history is against you.

                You need to pick under the numbers a little bit. In developed markets (Europe, USA, etc.) Nokia was going down market – being displaced by Apple and Android phones. We could enter into the argument about the difference between up market phones vs. smart phones and why people like buying apps. But No

        • by timeOday (582209)

          They had ten stable quarters with >6 billion in revenue and >500 million euro profit, the Windows Phone deal is announced and boom they go from a 750 million euro profit to a 200 million euro loss and their sales have been in free fall ever since.

          It's hard to determine causality, though, because human beings try look into the future and "react" to imminent calamities that haven't happened yet. Sometimes not-so-successfully.

        • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:16PM (#45349209)
          But apple and google were not kicking their ass. The truth is that until Elop took over, Nokia's smartphone division not only had more marketshare, it was growing faster than either Apple or Android. Elop destroyed that http://seekingalpha.com/article/916271-how-stephen-elop-destroyed-nokia [seekingalpha.com]
    • To take over Microsoft? Hell yes!

  • by korbulon (2792438) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @12:43PM (#45346193)

    Like naming a new captain to the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

  • by macromorgan (2020426) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:04PM (#45346421)
    Given what Alan Mulally had done for Ford as CEO and Boeing as a senior VP, I'm shocked he's not the front runner. He helped lead Boeing's resurgence against increased competition from Airbus, and then made Ford the strongest of the big three automakers and the only one able to weather the storm of the Great Recession. It would seem only fitting that he would be picked to lead Microsoft as it attempts to reinvent itself against growing competition.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You make it look like they are selected on competence ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cusco (717999)

      So someone who knows how to manufacture physical products automagically knows how to make software? Is this part of the powers of the Holy Snake Oil that MBAs are anointed with upon graduation?

      • by Kingkaid (2751527)

        So someone who knows how to manufacture physical products automagically knows how to make software? Is this part of the powers of the Holy Snake Oil that MBAs are anointed with upon graduation?

        You obviously don't know what an MBA teaches. Microsoft is trying to become a physical product company (along with services), so Alan Mulally is a very good choice. You don't need to know how to make something to manage the people that actually make it. You cannot be too arrogant and not listen to them, but if tempered it can work out better. If /. is correct, M$ needs a major change in leadership in order to become successful again.

        • by cusco (717999)

          Microsoft has made keyboards, mice, and other products for years, in addition to printing and distributing their software since the beginning. Physical products aren't new to MS.

          • by Kingkaid (2751527)

            Microsoft has made keyboards, mice, and other products for years, in addition to printing and distributing their software since the beginning. Physical products aren't new to MS.

            You're right! That is why they were so successful with the Kin. No wait... Oh there is the Zune... crap. Surface RT? .... Ah the Xbox! Yes that made it, although the first one was run entirely in the red and cost billions to gain the market share it has. So yes, they do have experience in marketing some types of physical products, but the integrated hardware/software ones appear to be not their strong suit. Also note the examples you gave, they were physical products that supported the software they sold.

      • by djbckr (673156)
        It seems a bit premature to dismiss him out-of-hand just because he hasn't led a software company. Yes, I know it's different, but his successes are better than anybody else on the list. Now, saying that, I don't know his leadership style. But if he's a good leader, he'll surround himself with people that know what they are doing and that have mutual trust between Mulally and those he surrounds himself with. That's (one of) the recipes for success.
      • by ppanon (16583)
        Airliner avionics aren't exactly simple software. They're a mission-critical integral part of modern airliners.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      I doubt he would be any good. The skills needed to lead a manufacturing company are completely. different then a software company, and visa versa.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Boeing is a research company first, doing "real engineering". Fords success came from introducing new models and features - perhaps not very geeky R&D, but still new engineering.

      • Yes, but at least his company wasn't completely trashed when he left it. That kind of puts him way higher than Elop in my estimation.
  • Hey. Would ya look at that? Nutella is in the mix! Tasty stuff, that. And I'll bet it'd be a LOT more intelligent at running uSoft than the other names on the short list.
  • NONE OF THE ABOVE (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PortHaven (242123) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @01:11PM (#45346515) Homepage

    So the choices are

    a) Nokia - a tech giant that went on major decline, so select their CEO to fix your major decline. Ya ...

    b) Former Ford CEO - hey at least Ford has been doing well. But does this guy know a wheel from a mouse?

    c) Skype - hey at least they got someone to buy them for a lot of $$$

    One choice that was touted at one point was to have have Microsoft buy Netflix and make Reed Hastings CEO. While I think he'd do well as CEO. I'd hate that for Netflix.

    • by danomac (1032160)

      But does this guy know a wheel from a mouse?

      Well, I would hope so. One is round.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >Former Ford CEO - hey at least Ford has been doing well. But does this guy know a wheel from a mouse?

      Well, let's see:

      Mulally [wikipedia.org] was hired by Boeing immediately out of college in 1969 as an engineer. He held a number of engineering and program management positions, making contributions to the Boeing 727, 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777 projects. He led the cockpit design team on the 757/767 project. Its revolutionary design featured the first all-digital flight deck in a commercial aircraft,...

      Yeah, probably.

    • Former Ford CEO - hey at least Ford has been doing well. But does this guy know a wheel from a mouse?

      He is literally a rocket scientist. BS and MS degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering. When he studied business he did so at MIT. He spent many years at Boeing in their Space and Defense division and in the Commercial Aircraft division.

      That said, I share the sentiment that knowing how to make passenger carrying vehicles out of metal and composites qualifies one to run Microsoft.

  • I'm not really familiar with any of these people, but did they really just add the Bates person to the list because their last name sounds like Gates?

  • He's the only worse CEO, and the only one nearly crappy enough.

  • I guarantee a doubling of stock price in 2 years.

  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @02:15PM (#45347177) Homepage

    After his success to burn Nokia, as a Linux user, I hope for him.
    I'm looking forward to his Burning Platform memo on Microsoft.

  • If the list doesn't have Scott Forstall on, then it's a list made up by a journalist.

    And given Elop has managed to destroy every company he's ever run, I find it hard to believe that that the Microsoft board of directors will be so stupid.

    My guess, the return of Gates III as it turns out that every other candidate falls short in some way.

  • Clearly they need to hire someone named Gil Bates, that would be awesome.

    G.

  • Steve Wozniak. He would be one of the few that could turn Microsoft around and back into a tech company that changes the world in a good way.

    Sadly, MSFT board members are not interested in that.

    • Steve Wozniak. He would be one of the few that could turn Microsoft around and back into a tech company that changes the world in a good way.

      Sadly, MSFT board members are not interested in that.

      I seriously doubt that the Woz would even be remotely interested...

  • Oh, I thought it was going to be Megan Mullally. That would be awesome.
    Sean Hayes could be head of marketing.

  • ... I'd change my name to Gil. Gil Bates. It's a proven fact that familiar names get more votes on a ballot.

    Go Tony! Er, Gil!

  • When the current CEO has spent twenty years eliminating potential future rivals.

    Seriously, that's the best leadership talent Microsoft has? Microsoft, the company that we all used to be terrified of?

    How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished.

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