Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, and Satya Nadella, President of Microsoft's Server and Tools business, are the last men standing according to sources. They couldn't be any different. Although rumor has it that Mulally could be brought on to groom his successor, who could be Nadella.The Microsoft CEO search has been, to say the least, a little underwhelming. The net has not been cast wide, and it boils down to two candidates who had their champions from the very beginning: Alan Mulally was Steve Ballmer's personal favorite, and Satya Nadella has the support of internal groups within Microsoft.
Both men are corporate guys through and through. Mulally spent most of his career at Boeing before taking over at Ford. Nadella has spent the bulk of his career at Microsoft. Each has risen from engineering management through the corporate ranks to become an executive.
Mulally is reminiscent of Lou Gerstner, who took over at IBM at a crucial juncture, and helped reshape the company that many, at the time, felt had seen its best days.
Nadella is an unknown quantity when it comes to evolutionary or revolutionary zeal, but he does understand Microsoft as well as anyone, and has been a part of a number of future seeking initiative, notably taking the company into the cloud.
Microsoft's board has said they are looking for an CEO who has an “extensive track record in managing complex, global organizations within a fast-paced and highly competitive market sector; track record of delivering top and bottom line results. Proven ability to lead a multi-billion dollar organization and large employee base,” according to sources.
That could apply to both these candidates. Whomever gets the nod, it has to happen before year end. The Microsoft Board is eager to find Steve Ballmer's replacement and move things forward.
Among his other notables:
At Microsoft he has been Senior VP of Research and Development for the Online Services Division and VP of the Microsoft Business Division.
Before Microsoft, Nadella was at Sun Microsystems.
Among his other honorifics: