Although the replacement to Steve Ballmer was not named, the head of the CEO search committee at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) noted today that the group was "pleased with [its] progress." Board member John W. Thompson said in a blog post that he expects the committee will "complete our work in the early part of 2014." He wrote that the pool has been narrowed from more than 100 possible candidates.
There had been wide speculation that Ford CEO Alan Mulally would be named to succeed Ballmer, but Ford and Mulally have reiterated Mulally is serious about staying with Ford at least through 2014. Microsoft announced on Aug. 23 that Ballmer would be retiring within 12 months.
Thompson, the chair of the board of directors search committee for the next CEO at Microsoft, said now was a good time to give an update on the company's quest to find a replacement.
While no further clarity was given on whom the potential successor to Ballmer will be, Thompson noted that the committee "initially cast a wide net across a number of different industries and skill sets," and identified more than 100 potential candidates, then of those candidates spoke to "several dozen," and then proceeded to focus its efforts on about 20 individuals.
From that group of about 20, the committee at Microsoft has in turn narrowed the potential group of replacements and has "done deeper research and investigation" on those candidates and has met with the entire board of directors surrounding its efforts.
Last week, Reuters reported that the board of directors at Ford had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of clarity surrounding Mulally's intention to stay with the automaker. The report also noted that while he is in line to stay as CEO through the end of next year, the board would be open to him leaving before then.
Surrounding the CEO search at Microsoft, Thompson highlighted Bill Gates' remarks at the shareholder meeting in November and reiterated "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."
However he concluded the post by noting, "[a]s a Board, we are determined and confident that the company's third CEO will lead Microsoft to renewed and continued success."