Despite his earlier denial, Ford CEO Alan Mulally is once again rumored to be the top candidate to take over Redmond-based Microsoft when current CEO Steve Ballmer leaves. This new rumor seems to have a little more credibility according two reports one by AllThingD's Kara Swisher that cites inside sources. The other by Reuters citing Ford Motors' giving Mr. Mulally the option of stepping down before his current term as CEO is set to expire after 2014.
If Mr. Mulally did become CEO it would be a homecoming of sorts since he was hired by Boeing in 1969 as an engineer. In his time with Boeing Mr. Mulally had a hand in all of the commercial airplanes from the 727 to the 777. He worked his way up to the executive level but left the company in 2005 after he had been passed over as a CEO candidate for the second time.
“That’s a complex business, running an auto manufacturing company, and he’s done a fantastic job,” said John Cook of Geekwire, pointing to Mulally’s roots at Boeing as well.
After Mr. Mulally the rumors earlier this month the rumor turned to co-founder Bill Gates coming back and take the reigns once again of the empire he built. Mr. Gates quickly quashed those rumors saying that he was not interesting of taking back the position that he relinquished to Steve Ballmer 13 years ago. He does plan to remain chairman of the board and advise the new CEO from time-to-time but is more focused on the foundation that him and his wife Melinda began in 2000.
Still one of the favorites, if Alan Mulally does not take the position, is former Microsoft president and current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. Mr. Elop left Microsoft in 2010 to take over the raigns of the struggling smartphone manufacturer but returned to the Redmond-based company when they bought part of Nokia. He was the favorite to take over from Mr. Ballmer until the first rumors of Alan Mulally being brought in to give the company a shot of outside blood.
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