Ford CEO top candidate to replace Ballmer at Microsoft - Report

Sources says Alan Mulally now a frontrunner to become Xbox maker's new chief executive officer.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally is a top candidate to replace outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as the Xbox maker's top executive, The Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD reports.

Mulally denied that he was leaving the Detroit-based car company earlier this month, telling AllThingsD that, "I continue to be focused on serving Ford."

Sources with knowledge of the situation told the site that the 68-year-old Mulally was not warm to the idea of joining Microsoft at first, but has become more interested of late.

Mulally has been CEO of Ford for seven years. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airlines in the Seattle area.

Shortly after Microsoft acquired Nokia for $7.2 billion, it was reported that CEO Stephen Elop would be a top contender for the Microsoft CEO job. However, sources told AllThingsD that there has been a "shift" in recent weeks away from Elop and towards Mulally.

Mulally and Microsoft have reportedly not yet entered "formal" contract negotiations, but discussions about the position are said to be "serious."

In August, Ballmer announced that he would retire in the next 12 months and will officially step down once his replacement is found.

Microsoft's board of directors has established a special committee to direct the selection process for Ballmer's successor. This committee is chaired by the board's lead independent director, John Thompson, as well as chairman of the board Bill Gates, among others.

The board is working with executive recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., and will consider both internal and external candidates, Microsoft said.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about Halo 4?

Halo 4

Halo 4

Follow

Discussion

290 comments
Ayebang
Ayebang

Microsoft should hire former Japanese head of ps 3. Why ?

He will bring high profit company to loss making one again. hahaha

Slagar
Slagar

What kind of doors do they have at Microsoft? The revolving kind.

It's a hard life for wealthy billionaires; all that smiling and hand-shaking must get really tiring.

Gargus
Gargus

Ford? What does he know about games or software?

Maybe Im just biased because fords are a hunk of shit. You couldn't give me 3 new ford cars for one Toyota.

cws3e
cws3e

Mulally  would increase quality at MS, that would be good.

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

Well it's safe to say he's looking for $, gotta love how successful gaming is now, all the vultures have swooped in to make a buck.

AlwaysRunning
AlwaysRunning

How long until Microsoft requests a government bailout? 

edinko
edinko

ANother expert that will do nothing for millions. How can a car guy run a software/gaming company?Hw knows nothing about it.Maybe he saw MS word from a distance a years ago

Barazon
Barazon

It actually doesn't matter how he did at Ford.  A recent study at Harvard Business found that promoting from within is far more effective than hiring someone who succeeded in a different industry.  Not only that, it costs less!  Expertise and even success in a completely different industry does not translate into success at the new company; more often the opposite occurs.

Just look at what the Apple exec did to JC Penney, trying to have a "same price every day, nothing ever goes on sale" model: he almost killed the company.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

So they plan on hiring a man who failed to bring his auto company to the top of the pack, and they expect him to bring MS back into good repute, much less economic dominance?  Pull the other one, guvna.  Once again, MS decides to shoot itself in the head.  Maybe the whole Steam console thingy will make MS back up and think twice.

Realistically, MS should be working on Visual DirectX and the 3D cyberspace OS envisioned by WIlliam Gibson.  Too bad they have no vision short of short-term monetary gain.  *does Vir Cotto wave*

tightwad34
tightwad34

Ugh, look at those suits smirking so smugly. Man that just irks me and I think I may have came up with a tongue twister.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

One of the greatest CEOs this industry has ever known, the late Hiroshi Yamauchi, didn't know much about the gaming industry, mainly because there wasn't an established dogma at the time when he steered Nintendo in the direction of gaming.  He turned that company from a small business that made playing cards into one of the largest and most enduring brands in the video game business.

You don't have to be "in the industry" to be a good leader.  Sometimes, not being an insider can actually help.

pwncakes52
pwncakes52

A CEO is a CEO. If you're good at running a company, you're good at it. Anyone saying he won't do well because he has no experience with this industry is just stupid. And saying that about Mulally is doubly stupid, considering he's not actually from the car industry, he came from Boeing, but did that stop him from making Ford a fairly successful company? In fact, he survived just fine without money from the bailout, while GM was struggling with it. He knows what he's doing.

thermalcold
thermalcold

...a Ford executive, Fix Or Repair Daily, just what we need

Orga777
Orga777

He knows how to run a company, that is for sure. maybe he will be able to reign in the idiot executives who babble themselves into a six foot hole. He should do fine. 

shreddyz
shreddyz

Microsoft games- Now with EcoBoost.

dan34246
dan34246

The job of the CEO is to make sure the business is run at the optimal level. Mulally has proven he can lead companies through his work with Boeing and Ford. Hell, the automotive industry was about to go bust yet Ford remained strong during his time there. The CEO position is all about leadership, and Mulally has shown that in spades. Look up things besides games once in awhile, you'll thank yourself later.

JamesHetfield89
JamesHetfield89

Mulally is absolutely one of the best, if not the single best, executives of his day. This is a homerun by default if Microsoft gets him.

baxwam
baxwam

Found on road dead ?! Microsoft?! 

pwc2
pwc2

Maybe he can fix this stupid Wndows 8 push.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Odd choice, but then again it's the same company that had The Don just a few months back. 

pwc2
pwc2

Someone needs to replace the CEO of EA ....ASAP!

csward
csward

I've got to go buy some M$ stock on Monday...

csward
csward

He turned around Ford while GM and Chrysler burned, so I expect great things. 

What I like about this guy is that he is humble. He completely changed Ford's narcissistic culture and greatly improved their product quality. Microsoft needs someone like him. Great choice.

edant79
edant79

Gotta love big business!

So as for the new XBOX..... built by gamers (over paid fossils) for gamers (casual bro populace).

bluefox755
bluefox755

The guys 68?  Shouldn't he be retiring?

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

What could a car/plane guy really bring to a software/electronics company?  Why hire a 68 year old CEO?  What's he going to do for 2-3 years before he retires/dies?  This seems like a desperate move by an out of touch company.  If MS is going to go with an old guy, they should con Bill Gates into coming back.

wilson2k9
wilson2k9

Could really care less about this, since it wont really effect anything in terms of gaming. But the one thing I don't like when just seeing the headlines like these; is its just another highly over paid, very rich CEO who either was a success or failure, neither of which seem to matter, goes on to take over as CEO somewhere else making boat loads of money still being over paid. 


I wonder why some things do get so stale, or things just stay the same, or maybe progress in the wrong direction, maybe its because all these companies are just trading CEO's back and forth. I would rather see fresh new faces becoming CEO's not some guy who's been around the block upteen times. 


I would rather see some guy in his late 20s or early 30s that could be around as CEO for years to come, and who actually plays video games, not some old CEO that might be a car guy who has never touched a video game, other than the one he might be buying his grand kids. CMON the guys 68 years old, hes been a CEO of Boeing, then a CEO of Ford, soon to be a CEO at MS. I think what I said above speaks for its self with the same old guys getting around the block and the rich getting richer.  But I know the CEO isn't the guy making games, or with ideas. But still a 68 year old taking part in a gaming company, in any role is just LOL.

And its not like MS don't have the resources, the funding, the smarts, ect... to take chances. Sounds like MS is playing the safe card here. 

The_Last_Ride
The_Last_Ride

i wonder how many games this guy has played...

Greyslay
Greyslay

I bet if he comes on board they will start making a lot of racing games :)

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

Btw do you all realize that amount of tech and software he added to all the cars at Ford. Go into a Ford pre-Mulally and one now. Then look under the hood, dashboard and seats.. No not the engine but the tech hardware and software. A car is a computer on wheels now a days.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

A car is a product that has built based on the needs and demands of consumers. Video games and software is the exact same thing. Would you make a car people don't want to buy? Would you make software that there isn't a demand for? Same concept. You read the market, and make a product along with engineers (BTW he was an engineer) and consumer data.
 
This is business to customer production development. It's call consumer products. That is what his experience from Ford brings. Consumer products. And not the tiny toys or junk made in China. This is big products. Not so much in size like cars. But in terms of daily influence and the ability to be used A LOT. Cars are used a lot. MS products are used a lot. Whether it is Windows, MS Office, or your phone to gaming console. It's the influence in the consumer's daily life that is his experience.

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

This is the man that took Ford from losing billions and turned it into a powerhouse once again. All WITHOUT taking a bail out. Frankly, he should be running Nokia. Although to be honest, Microsoft could in the future face the same problems Ford did. He changed the way Ford worked and its lineup. It seems like

This is man the CEO that Microsoft will need in the future as opposed to now. This is part of a long term vision of MS. PCs are starting to do to the way side and as a result they need someone like this man to keep them in the lead. Dell had to call back Michael Dell because their PC division is tanking. Same goes for HP.

rasterror
rasterror

And Mullaly is a genius and great leader.  The work he's done at both Boeing and Ford shows he knows how to steer a company on the right path.  He's quite possibly one of the best if not the best CEO in the world.

ghost590
ghost590

he is going to burn ms to the ground 

Tangsta03
Tangsta03

The CEO position is a strictly business position, guys, so vast product knowledge is not required for them to do their job well. What he does have is intelligence and extensive experience in the position and that is all that is needed. 

I'm sure he'll be going multiple crash courses on MS's products and should have a pretty decent game plan ready for bring MS back to greatness. Give the guy a chance before judging, you all might be pleasantly surprised.

bubba_1988
bubba_1988

There is no doubt this guy has great credentials but for a tech/entertainment company? I don't think so. And another thing, the last thing MS needs is a 68 year CEO. They need some young blood or they will end with more products like surface . . . .

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

@pwncakes52 I agree, a business is a business and he doesn't need to have experience in the gaming industry, but that doesn't mean he'll be any good for gamers.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@pwncakes52 This.  If anything, being from the outside might give him a better perspective.  I think part of the problem with the tech and software industry at large is that it's far too insular.

edant79
edant79

@csward  

Stop being so positive, it's unhealthy for the internet.

He's an old 300 year racist reptilian (sooo gross) in league with the Illuminati, so sayeth the interwebs!  

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@bluefox755 As long as he's got it, why not keep going?  Execs don't exactly do a lot of heavy physical labor.

DaneGamer
DaneGamer

@Suaron_x If he has an interest in the market and knows about business, he could do a lot! Other than that i don't know.

JamesHetfield89
JamesHetfield89

@wilson2k9 None of this is right, is the nicest way to put it.

I wouldn't call this a safe approach - they may not land Mulally, who is an absolute badass. You talk about him shuffling around Boeing and Ford, but do you not know what he achieved at either?

Executives are not overpaid. They command incredibly high salaries because the pool of people competent enough to direct megacorporations like Microsoft, Ford and Boeing, is very  small. This is why you will never an established firm that's been around for decades, probably public, go out and hire some 20 year old kid. The vast majority of college graduates are overpaid for the first job...the idea that they should hire 20 year old executives is completely ludicrous.


csward
csward

@wilson2k9 Yes, it will affect gaming. CEOs affect everything in the company directly or indirectly. Luckily, he is a good one.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

@Tangsta03 You have to know the products to make the right decisions to steer the company.  How in-touch with software/electronics do you think he is?  MS business is biased toward the youngsters, as the young tend to drive the direction of technology. 

MXVIII
MXVIII

@bubba_1988  I believe Steve Jobs was pretty old when he came out with the iproducts...and he was really young when his company faced default. Just food for thought

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

@YukoAsho @pwncakes52 I think the fact that he does not know the history of gaming or anything about it at all, will bode poorly for gamers.