Kara Swisher at AllThingsD is reporting that her sources suggest that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally is in the lead to take over for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s exiting CEO Steve Ballmer.

Alan Mulally ford

Ford CEO’s email

This flies in the face of what Swisher learned earlier this month when Mulally sent her an email which read, “I continue to be focused on serving Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) … and I have my red Ford vest on right now!!” Mulally loves his iconic vest, and prior to taking over as Ford CEO in 2006 he wore a Boeing vest when he served as CEO of  the Seattle-based Boeing. If an iconic piece of clothing makes a good CEO, Steve Job’s turtleneck, Zuckerberg’s “hoodie”, then Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) would certainly welcome a man with an iconic vest. Welcome, no they need him.

At least that’s what Steve Balmer thought when he consulted with the 68-year old Mulally to implement a new management structure for the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).As mentioned, Mulally once served as CEO of Boeing, and still keeps a house in the Seattle area, an area that many believe Mulally would like to return to some day. That day may come withing the next year.

Speculation about Mulally’s move

Adding to the speculation that Mulally will move west is a report from Reuters that claimed that Mulally was given the option of stepping down from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) prior to the end of his contract. However, this blessing was believed to have been given to Mulally to take a position in the Obama administration. Or was it?

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSII) has been charged with finding the right man, or woman, to replace Ballmer. If the masthead means anything that may be a touch difficult for them.

Microsoft Nokia acquisition

Following Microsoft’s, yet unfinished, acquisition of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V) it was believed that Stephen Elop was the top contender given Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s new direction of providing “services and devices.” That seems to have shifted in recent weeks with Microsoft looking to an executive with turnaround experience, something that Mulally certainly has.

Tony Bates, former CEO of Skype, is considered the only internal exec in the running for CEO, while former Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and present CEO of Pivotal, Paul Maritz, has had his name bandied about in speculation.

Ultimately, this is just a guessing game. One person, however, certainly holds the answer. That man is of course, Bill Gates, who has spending a lot of time on the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) campus in recent weeks.