It has been almost three weeks since Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the announcement on August 23, 2013 that he would step down for the Redmond-based company. Since that time he has given no hint as to whom might replace him as head of the Software giant. Naturally, since Mr. Ballmer hasn't spoken about a possible replacement it has only fueled the Internet rumor mill where there has been plenty of speculation about whether it will one of the current executives at the Redmond-based company, current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Computer Sciences Corporation CEO Mike Lawrie or the current CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Jeff Raikes.
Stephen Elop would bring 21 years of managerial experience, to the Redmond-based company, dating back to 1992 when he was CIO (chie information officer) at Boston Market. Then in 1994 Mr. Elop moved on to become the CIO of Einstein Bros Bagels. In 1998 Mr. Elop joined Macromedia where he was hired in his first CEO position. Mr. Elop made a couple of more stops before becoming President at Microsoft. Mr. Elop then left Microsoft in 2010 to become the CEO of the Finland-based Nokia. Mr. Elop returned to Microsoft when the Redmond giant purchased the mobile division of Nokia earlier this month.
If Alan Mulally becomes CEO at the Redmond-based company it would be a return to Washington State where he started his career with Boeing in 1969. He held several positions with the aerospace giant before he left in 2005. The following year Ford Motor Company hired Mr. Mulally as their CEO. Rumors of Mr. Mulally taking over Microsoft start swirly around the Internet last week. He soon put those rumors to rest when he said that he would stay on as the head of the Ford Motor Company for atleast another year. Despite the statement he is still rumored to be one of the top candidates to replace Steve Ballmer.
Mike Lawrie would bring over three decades of experience working with various technology companies. Mr. Lawrie started his long career with IBM where he held a variety of positions. After leaving IBM Mr. Lawrie held management positions at Executive Chairman of Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions, Inc. and UK-based Misys plc. He became the CEO of Computer Science Corporation in 2012. In 2005-2006 Mr. Lawrie was a general partner in ValueAct Capital a San Francisco-based private investment firm that gained a seat on the board of directors at Microsoft earlier this month.
Out of all the candidates coming from outside of the company Jeff Raikes has the biggest inside track. Mr. Raikes started his career with Apple but it wasn't long before a young Steve Ballmer recruited him into the fold at Microsoft in 1981. From those beginnings Mr. Raiker work his way up to company president in 2005 that he held until his retirement in 2008. It wasn't long before his old boss, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates came calling for Mr. Raiker to take over as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.