Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has apparently cut down its candidate list for CEO, trimming it down to about five external candidates and at least three internal candidates. That’s according to a report from Nadia Damouni of Reuters.


Mulally, Elop make the cut

Among those said to be on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s short list to replace current CEO Steve Ballmer are Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) co-chief Alan Mulally and Steven Elop, former CEO of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V). Among the internal candidates on Microsoft’s short list are former Skype CEO Tony Bates, who now heads up its business development, and cloud and enterprise head Satya Nadella.

Microsoft apparently started out with about 40 names on its list of CEO candidates, but in spite of how far the company has trimmed that list down, it could still take a few more months to settle on a final candidate, according to Reuters’ sources.

The media agency was unable to receive the list of other candidates on Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s CEO short list. However, it does report that the company is speaking with executives from a broad array of sectors, including the consumer sector and the life sciences sector.

Comments on Microsoft’s candidate list

Investors have been pushing Microsoft to find an expert with a history of success in turning around companies. Many investors are also calling for a new strategy, saying that the devices strategy Ballmer has followed in recent years has failed.

Mulally would be a prime candidate in that department, although a spokesperson for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) told Reuters that nothing has changed. He said Mulally remains committed to staying and working on their One Ford plan. He also said they don’t “engage in speculation.” However, other sources close to Mulally have said that he may be interested in leaving Ford if another opportunity presents itself.

Elop is already planning on returning to Microsoft after the deal with Nokia closes. However, currently he is seen as an external candidate. With his unsuccessful attempt to turn Nokia around, he may not be a good choice for Microsoft.

Shares of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose almost 3% in early trading on Wednesday.