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Microsoft to name CEO in early 2014 – Detroit Free Press

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Microsoft to name CEO in early 2014 – Detroit Free Press

Microsoft’s prolonged search for a new leader continues with the news that the software giant will not choose its successor for CEO Steve Ballmer until early in 2014.

“We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014,” said board member John Thompson, the independent director leading the CEO search, in a blog posting Tuesday on the Microsoft website.

It is the first clear-cut time reference in a search that commenced in August when Ballmer announced he would retire within a year. Reports suggested the successor could be named by the end of 2013.

“We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals,” Thompson wrote. “As this group has narrowed, we’ve done deeper research and investigation, including with the full board.”

Chairman and founder Bill Gates also is involved in the selection.

The short list includes both internal and external candidates, which has caused angst in other corporate boardrooms, including Ford because CEO Alan Mulally has been mentioned as a candidate.

The speculation is being cited as a distraction in Dearborn where the automaker is preparing to launch 23 global vehicles next year, the biggest wave of new products in one year in its 111-year history.

Some Ford board members wanted informal assurances of Mulally’s plans when the board met Thursday; there was no formal item on the agenda. At a media event that night, Mulally spent hours casually chatting with reporters from across the country while deftly turning away any questions about the length of his tenure with Ford.

Mulally and his colleagues have repeatedly said there are no changes to the plan to stay through 2014, but there are mounting reports that he will not finish out 2014 with Ford, regardless of whether he goes to Microsoft. He does not have a contract binding him to the automaker.

Mark Fields, chief operating officer at Ford, has been running day-to-day operations for the past year.

Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle.

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