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Taking The Time: Microsoft Director Says It Won’t Name New CEO Until Early 2014


John Thompson, the Microsoft director who is leading the search for a CEO to replace outgoing leader Steve Ballmer, said today in a blog post that the board will not make its choice until early next year.

Wrote Thompson: “We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals, all extremely impressive in their own right. As you would expect, as this group has narrowed, we’ve done deeper research and investigation, including with the full Board. We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014.”

While the timing is still within the time frame laid out by the company after Ballmer announced in August that he would be leaving, many inside the company — especially weary employees — had hoped that the new CEO would be named by the end of the year.

Sources with knowledge of the situation said that the directors are still mulling whether the company needs a more experienced leader — in the mode of Ford CEO Alan Mulally — or a more technical executive, such as Microsoft enterprise head Satya Nadella.

Interestingly, Thompson reiterated the need for a technical CEO, talking about the search update by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at its recent shareholders meeting.

“He noted that 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,” wrote Thompson.

That might seem to rule out no one now in the mix, though, which also has included Microsoft strategy head Tony Bates. There are also various and sundry dark horses being considered, said sources.



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