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Microsoft CEO Search Reportedly Nearing the Finish Line

The long search for Microsoft's next CEO may be coming to an end and it looks like the crown may go to an insider now that Ericsson Chief Hans Vesberg is no longer in the mix. The leading contender is now enterprise and cloud head Satya Nadella, according to a report this morning by Re/code's Kara Swisher.

An announcement could come within a week, several unnamed sources close to Microsoft told Swisher. Yet other sources tell her the search committee still hasn't ruled naming an outsider to the position. Two other insiders are also still contenders, according to the report. Among them are former Nokia CEO and onetime Microsoft President Stephen Elop and Tony Bates, who led Skype and now leads business development and OEM relationships for Microsoft.

CNBC, a Re/Code partner, noted this morning that  two others are still in the mix. The two are Microsoft COO Kevin Turner and Paul Maritz, a onetime insider who later became CEO of VMware and now runs its parent company EMC's Pivitol Software business. Maritz would be a good choice but he has indicated he isn't interested. Turner would be a surprise move and, from what I've heard, not welcome by many employees and partners.

The search is into its sixth month and the long wait to see who will lead Microsoft is taking a toll on morale at the company, according to Swisher. Also with several Microsoft conferences kicking off in a few months, including SharePoint, Build 2014 and TechEd 2014, failure to have named a new CEO could cast a shadow on those key events, which are expected to reveal the direction of the company's key offerings.

Nadella is a strong candidate, as I noted back in October when he talked up Microsoft's cloud and enterprise computing strategy in San Francisco. In addition to working in numerous groups during his two-plus decades at the company, Nadella has run perhaps the most critical and profitable pieces of Microsoft's business.

While I don't often write about rumors, Swisher is on the money more often than not. Either way, hopefully this search will reach the finish line soon.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/30/2014 at 12:09 PM


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