Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s determination to step down, announced this morning, is outstanding partially as a result of it confirms the corporate’s lack of succession planning — leaving a wide-open discipline as Invoice Gates and the remainder of the Microsoft board search a alternative.
Let the hypothesis start. Microsoft says it has retained government recruiting agency Heidrick & Struggles Worldwide to help within the search, contemplating candidates each exterior and inner. An enormous a part of the issue is that there isn’t any clear successor inside the corporate, even after the large inner reorganization that Ballmer introduced this summer season.
On the subject of possible outdoors candidates: What about Netflix CEO Reed Hastings? Or Fb COO Sheryl Sandberg? Sure, these look like lengthy pictures, however Hastings is notable partially as a result of he was beforehand on the Microsoft board.
Potential inside candidates might embrace former Skype chief Tony Bates, working programs boss Terry Myerson, advertising chief Tami Reller, chief working officer Kevin Turner, cloud and enterprise vp Satya Nadella, technique and analysis chief Eric Rudder, and gadgets and studios VP Julie Larson-Inexperienced, the previous Home windows engineering chief.
However there’s really one other class of candidate to contemplate — the huge legions of former Microsoft executives who’ve left the corporate through the years, at the very least partially as a result of it didn’t seem Ballmer was stepping down anytime quickly. Drawing closely from that discipline, right here’s a fast listing of potential candidates who may very well be on the radar as Microsoft seeks its next chief.
Paul Maritz: The longtime Microsoft government labored on the firm for 16 years, overseeing areas together with the corporate’s platform and developer division, earlier than launching his personal firm and happening to be the CEO of VMware Corp. A revered expertise chief, Maritz had been regularly mentioned as a possible successor lengthy earlier than Ballmer introduced plans to step down.
Steven Sinofsky: The previous Microsoft Workplace and Home windows chief is a polarizing determine — with followers and critics inside the corporate — and through the years he has downplayed any ambitions to take over as chief government. But it surely’s robust to deny his document of getting Home windows again on its toes with Home windows 7 after the franchise fell on arduous instances. If solely Home windows 8 and Floor had been doing higher proper now.
Vic Gundotra: Now this may be daring. The previous Microsoft normal supervisor has taken on a a lot increased profile since becoming a member of Google, overseeing the search large’s social networking push with the launch of Google+. Whether or not or not he can be up to the job of Microsoft CEO, he’s an instance of somebody who might are available and shake issues up, at the very least.
Stephen Elop: The previous Microsoft government, now the CEO of Nokia, can be an attention-grabbing choose, significantly if the Microsoft board had been to pull this off via a long-discussed acquisition of the smartphone maker.
Kevin Johnson: Microsoft’s former platforms chief additionally had his followers inside the corporate and he can be obtainable, at the very least, having introduced his personal plan to retire because the CEO of Juniper Networks earlier this 12 months.
Invoice Gates: Sorry people, I nonetheless don’t assume this may occur. It will be epic, and I might love to be confirmed unsuitable, however … no.
A part of the issue right here is that these are, for probably the most half, apparent candidates for the job. Establishment isn’t what Microsoft wants proper now. Who else on the market would you want to see on the brief listing?
Right here’s our evaluation of the Ballmer information, with some extra insights on who is likely to be in one of the best place to fill Ballmer’s footwear.