Microsoft’s next CEO: Stephen Elop’s chances of replacing Steve Ballmer slipping

Former Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop’s hopes of replacing outgoing Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer are slipping, according to reports.

Bloomberg reports sources within the company as saying that while Elop remains in the mix of candidates and the situation remains fluid, he is currently considered to be less likely to win the position than other candidates.

The report also claims that former Ford chief executive Alan Mulally and Satya Nadella, the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, are considered to be the front-runners for the position.

The sources also claim the company has prepared a document listing the key selection criteria the company is looking at.

“[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,” the document reportedly states.

In late August, bookmakers offered 5-to-1 odds of Elop taking the helm of the tech giant, ahead of a range of internal candidates.

The speculation comes despite the Finnish mobile phone giant reporting its overall mobile phone and smartphone sales slumped 27% year-on-year during the second quarter of 2013, with an overall quarterly loss of €115 million ($A190 million).

However, by mid- September, at least three of Microsoft’s top 20 shareholders urged the company to consider turnaround experts as a potential replacement to outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Turnaround experts including Ford chief executive Alan Mulally and Mike Lawrie, the boss of IT services firm Computer Sciences Corp, were recommended by the shareholders as potential candidates for the position.

According to reports at the time, sources within the company said the special committee selecting Ballmer’s replacement has already begun meeting with key shareholders, and could name a replacement by the end of the year.

In one such meeting, the company revealed it had begun with a list of around 40 internal and external candidates, and is narrowing it down.

Former Nokia executive Tomi Ahonen, a mobile industry analyst who is an outspoken critic of the company’s decision to abandon its Symbian and Meego platforms in favour of its current Lumia/Windows Phone strategy, has gone on the record downplaying the possibility of Elop replacing Ballmer.

“Elop is totally damaged goods. He is associated with Ballmer, a loser now in [Microsoft chairman Bill] Gates’ mind. Elop is totally linked with Windows Phone, one of Microsoft’s costliest mistakes.

“The carriers/operators have spoken, loud and clear. Carriers gave 33% of the global smartphone business to Nokia before Elop announced Windows [Phone], today they only give Nokia 3%. Carriers have spoken, loud and clear.”


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