Microsoft Declines To Name New CEO In 2013, Promises New Leader In “Early” 2014

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Today Microsoft published a short blog post from John Thompson, a member of its board and the chair of its search committee for its next CEO. The entry stated that from an initial pool of 100 candidates, Microsoft narrowed to 20, a figure that has since shrunk, and that the board expects to make a choice in the “early part of 2014.”

This pushes back against the narrative that Microsoft intended to announce their new CEO inside of 2013, controlling expectations, and tamping down potential speculation if that rumored deadline was not met.

According to Thompson, the “full board” is now involved with the remaining candidates, a pool that has been said to include internal executives such as Satya Nadella and Tony Bates, as well as external candidates from time to time, such as, until recently, Ford’s Alan Mulally among others. The full pool of potentials won’t be public likely ever, but we in the press have had a decent time parsing through leaks and other forms of derivative horse racing.

Thompson ends on an upbeat note:

Microsoft has had only two CEOs in its 38-year history. As a Board, we are determined and confident that the company’s third CEO will lead Microsoft to renewed and continued success. We’re looking forward to 2014 and the opportunities and decisions that lie ahead.

The post appears to be simply a quieting entry, designed to keep investors calm and the media placid. Microsoft gave itself 12 months to pick a new CEO, a timeframe that it has used around one third of.

If we do know in early 2014, Microsoft will have given itself more than ample time to pick its next leader.

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