Who will be the next Microsoft CEO?

by Ankita Mohinta    Aug 26, 2013


The IT world is currently buzzing with the news that Steve Ballmer will retire in 12 months. Rumor has it, that Microsoft Corp has already set up a committee to find a new chief executive after Ballmer. One of the candidates for this post is Indian born Satya Nadella, head of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise group.

If qualifications are anything to go by, Nadella’s seems like a great read. Nadella has a Master’s degree in computer science from  University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology. He started out his career joining Sun Microsystems as a member of the technology staff, and ultimately went out to join Microsoft in 1992. He started out as Senior Vice president of R&D for the Online Services Division and Vice President of the Microsoft Business Division. After the stint as Vice President, he was made the President of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools Business and led the transformation of the business and technology from client-server software to cloud infrastructure and services.

According to Business Standard the Microsoft committee is considering both internal and external candidates for the distinguished position. Some of the other interrnal contenders for the post could be executive vice president of marketing Tami Reller, COO Kevin Turner and executive vice president Tony Bates. Externally Microsoft has a wide variety of candidates to choose from. EBay Inc CEO John Donahoe could be a potential choice. Facebook Inc COO Sheryl Sandberg is another strong candidate. Vic Gundotra the star Google engineer who incidentally is also an ex-Microsoft engineer. Reed Hastings is another such Silicon Valley star who has quite a bit of experience being on Microsoft’s board for years.

However insiders say that choosing an external candidate could be a risky move, because an external candidate may not be able to settle in with the strong culture already existing in Microsoft. According to Bill George, a former CEO of Medtronic Inc and now a director at Exxon Mobil Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. an external CEO would be the ideal choice for the IT giant because they would have new perspective on how to run the company. With the recent reports of the flailing PC segment around the world, Microsoft needs someone who will look at mobile, social media and other new possibilities which can help return Microsoft’s lost glory.

If Nadella is indeed selected for the position he has some big shoes to fill. Most of the Microsoft’s rivals such as Apple, Google have dynamic CEOs who are big innovators and distinguished leaders. So let’s hope that Microsoft weighs all the pros and cons and selects their CEO with great care.