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AllThingsD: Ford's Mulally now heads list of Ballmer replacements

  • Sources tell Kara Swisher Ford (F) CEO and Steve Ballmer confidante Alan Mulally "has vaulted to the forefront" of the list of potential candidates to succeed Ballmer as Microsoft's (MSFT) CEO.
  • Though Stephen Elop (set to join Microsoft through the Nokia deal) is still reportedly a top candidate, Swisher's sources claim there has "been a shift in recent weeks toward Mulally," who has shown a knack for corporate turnarounds during his time at Ford and Boeing (but hasn't worked for a tech company).
  • Mulally reportedly advised Ballmer on Microsoft's big reorg (I, II).
  • Previous: Top Microsoft investors want Mulally, Lawrie on CEO shortlist
Comments (40)
  • If Mulally is in, I am too. Long F.
    26 Sep 2013, 05:54 PM Reply Like
  • But if he leaves F, will you too?
    26 Sep 2013, 06:39 PM Reply Like
  • If Mulally becomes MSFT CEO, I would have to consider MSFT. But would be a little hesitant, with the cross industry hire, ie. Ron Johnson from AAPL to JCP.
    26 Sep 2013, 07:18 PM Reply Like
  • Not necessarily. Mulally is a walking success story and leaves successful restructuring and great PR everywhere he goes. imho
    26 Sep 2013, 09:57 PM Reply Like
  • Cant compare JCP to MSFT, retail is much more competitive and harder to judge then technology & MSFT has lots of cash.
    27 Sep 2013, 06:31 AM Reply Like
  • I would not sell, initially, F if Mulally went anywhere as he oversaw implementation of processes that has made F successful. The processes should continue even if he leaves. It's a method of building products that I believe is already engrained in the culture.
    27 Sep 2013, 10:42 AM Reply Like
  • When stories bout Nokia CEO's wife refusing to take a pay cut surface you don't get named CEO of the new entity
    26 Sep 2013, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Mulally > Elop...
    26 Sep 2013, 06:00 PM Reply Like
  • Soon to be ex wife. They are divorcing.

     

    Elop can hit the ground running at MSFT. He turned Nokia around and can do the same at Redmond. They need to get Ballmer out before Thanksgiving so the new CEO can get to work sooner. Elop has got my vote.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • Turned around Nokia? Are you kidding, Nokia lost 80% of its market cap with that loser. Elop is a piker and if MSFT names him CEO it's a short.
    27 Sep 2013, 12:48 AM Reply Like
  • Elop did not turn around Nokia, it drove it into the ditch! The last thing MSFT needs is yet another inept CEO. Go with Mulally, although he is no spring chicken.
    27 Sep 2013, 02:33 AM Reply Like
  • I'm an admirer of Mulally but if had previously offered advice to Ballmer on MSFT's previous reorganizations, wouldn't that at least suggest Mulally knows manufacturing much better than a tech company? I understand that certain CEO traits and philosophies can transfer to many industries but Mulally to MSFT could be pushing it.

     

    I could see why Mulally would want the job though; he has done a fantastic job resuscitating Ford and from what I understand, he still has a house on Mercer Island (SE of Seattle so a reasonable drive North/NE to Redmond).
    26 Sep 2013, 07:43 PM Reply Like
  • Mulally knows Boeing, thats pretty much a technology company although the consumer segment of MS maybe harder to understand.
    26 Sep 2013, 08:03 PM Reply Like
  • Basic understanding of corporate structure is the key. The product itself is somewhere in the details and the company structure itself. His PR abilities are simply outstanding. Again, imho, but I've been a Mulally fan for a very long time and haven't seen many mis-steps.
    26 Sep 2013, 10:03 PM Reply Like
  • crazy as it sounds -- I want Mulally @ the FED. He doesn't have to be an economist to lead the team.
    26 Sep 2013, 08:10 PM Reply Like
  • Let's not get carried away.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:18 PM Reply Like
  • Oh great now we get a car guy running Microsoft. One thing that should be disallowed, is the ability of a poor CEO to pick his replacement. Please get someone who understands mobile, but that does not mean automobile.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • As a CEO, I'm sure Mulally has a long list of contacts that would love to work for him over his many years @ Ford and Boeing. It'll be a challenge like Steve Jobs said to one guy "you want to come with me and change the world or do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life." He's an innovator just like Mr.Jobs.
    26 Sep 2013, 11:45 PM Reply Like
  • It's about capital allocation and Mullally is a master of the craft.
    27 Sep 2013, 12:48 AM Reply Like
  • Boeing, first US company to have multiple redundancy QA. US car makers never had. Now F does, even with the occasional recall. Long F because of Mullaly & the "it's got to be right" from design thru delivery. MSFT needs that over- haul, everybody knows that. They need new blood, new ideas, new energy... Who else? Ellison, Chambers, somebody from FB, Google, IBM? Nope, Mullay, design, plan, source, implement & deliver... In a new segment... Why not
    26 Sep 2013, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • If AM leaves Ford for Microsoft I will personally dump all my shares in F and buy The Chrysler IPO when it materializes.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:26 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah. That sounds like a terrific plan. I've heard Mullaly personally checks each and every vehicle as it comes off the line to make sure everything is in order before it's shipped. Frankly, I think the whole company circles the drain within 6 months of him leaving. LOL

     

    I'm sorry. But when I read something as silly as that it just demands some type of a sarcastic comment.
    26 Sep 2013, 10:04 PM Reply Like
  • Mulally's turnaround at Ford was based on fairly simple techniques.

     

    1) Use common sense.
    2) Simplify management and get rid of redundancy and brown-nosers.
    3) Timing - Take the job close to the bottom of the cycle (luck here).

     

    I don't know if simple common sense will work at a tech company.

     

    Mulally might be smarter to take his Ford stock and retire.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:28 PM Reply Like
  • Betting Mulally can afford to retire, but he just might be tempted by the challenge.
    26 Sep 2013, 10:06 PM Reply Like
  • KDP
    Selling F to buy Chrysler just because of AM's departure sounds like a temper tantrum, not an investor repositioning.
    26 Sep 2013, 09:50 PM Reply Like
  • On the other hand, it might be a side strategy to sell if Mulally does move to MSFT, just because of the people who will selloff F in a kneejerk manner....then buy back in after it takes the drop. Don't know that I'll do it...just sayin. I believe IF he leaves F, he'll leave a solid company. Remember, Ford did not go thru bankruptcy back in the bad old days, holding out its hand for govt aid, as others did.
    26 Sep 2013, 10:13 PM Reply Like
  • The biggest complaint we have heard about MS is NOT their ability to innovate, but their internal politics and in-house fighting. They have (or had) a lot of technically bright people. Sure, they didn't do a good job, but they did "invent" the tablets, the smart phone, the smart watch, etc. Mullaly's job is not to innovate per se, but just remove the road-block for the people underneath to innovate. I don't see him any worse than a Ellison or a Cook at all. Either him or Elop would be fine. Elop has more potential, but riskier. With Mullaly, I can't see MSFT went too off the rail.
    26 Sep 2013, 10:26 PM Reply Like
  • If Mulally really was the advisor behind the recent reorg, I am really liking him as a candidate.

     

    He tried to put the emphasis on engineering and on the company working together to end the in-fighting.

     

    In any case, if any new CEO sticks with the stack-ranking review system, that is a very bad sign that the company is sticking to its old ways.

     

    There are so many endpoints for "devices," besides phones and tablets, we have only seen the beginning. The potential market is absolutely huge and Microsoft of all companies is best positioned to take advantage if they can get their act together.
    27 Sep 2013, 03:14 AM Reply Like
  • So Microsoft goes from a used car sales man as CEO to a Car manufactor CEO as CEO. Absolutley an improvement.
    27 Sep 2013, 03:14 AM Reply Like
  • I think they should have several co-CEOs. Much easier to pass off the blame if something goes wrong. After all, one cannot keep blaming Ballmer for everything forever.
    27 Sep 2013, 04:08 AM Reply Like
  • As much as one would hate for Mulally to leave Ford (ever!), if he did go to Microsoft you can bet he would take with him the idea that sometimes the competition is simply better, and you have to beat them at their own game.

     

    Mulally arrived at Ford's driving a fine new Lexus, and pointed out to Ford's inbred and narcissistic Management fiefdoms that Toyota makes the best quality and most profitable cars in the world, hands down. And that if Ford wants to compete, they have to out-Toyota Toyota. And out-Lexus Lexus. It was a hard pill for Ford to swallow, and some managers and executives had to leave the company.

     

    What Mulally would bring to Microsoft is the straight up point that Apple is still kicking Microsoft's @$$ in virtually everything they compete in, including desktops and laptops and tablets and mobile products and Op Systems and Apps. And that the stunningly ignorant, head in the sand, and closed inbred culture at MS that has led to failed products such as Microsoft's MyFord Touch app-tastrophy, which has plunged Ford's quality from best in class to the absolute worst in class, and the laughably uncompetitive and outdated Windows Mobile and Windows Phone operating systems on the few remaining cell phones that are not Android or iOS, must be thrust out the window and burned to ashes.

     

    Alan is just the guy that can do that. Watch out Microsoft, if Alan sets foot in the Office of the CEO in your World Headquarters, you can expect a major @$$-kicking and %!^(#-slapping! All done with a pleasant smile, and a gesture at the door, and a genuinely kind "Thank you for your service...".
    27 Sep 2013, 08:04 AM Reply Like
  • Great post
    27 Sep 2013, 01:59 PM Reply Like
  • Art Garfunkel might work too. Microsoft should definitely consider him.
    27 Sep 2013, 08:12 AM Reply Like
  • As a user of MSFT products from the beginning until 5 years ago, I believe their primary issue was "quality" of their products, especially Windows. Mulally is a process guy and had to be being CEO at Boeing & then Ford. IMO, he is one of few that could turn around the culture at MSFT by providing processes that employees could & would embrace. A process guy that can sell his methodology.
    27 Sep 2013, 10:38 AM Reply Like
  • I would be definitely be concerned about Mullally lack of direct experience, BUT he did do a heckuva job at Ford. So many companies were ignoring clear signs of where the economy was heading, but Mullally and Ford. He cut every expense that he could (believe me, my wife worked at Ford HQ at the time and voice many a complaint about cost saving measures) and built a huge cash reserve. And it certainly paid off. Ford has been an impressive story under his leadership.
    When you have difficult corporate task ahead, he is definitely someone that you would want at the helm.
    27 Sep 2013, 10:42 AM Reply Like
  • Would rather see Melissa Meyers at the helm rather then Mullally.
    27 Sep 2013, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • Better yet let Microsoft buy Yahoo....and we get the CEO Meyers for free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...
    27 Sep 2013, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • Not a bad idea really. Though they did try it and talks broke down. Yahoo seems to be increasing page hits so is making progress.
    27 Sep 2013, 05:48 PM Reply Like
  • Id love mayer too but Yahoo is definitely setting up a revival.
    27 Sep 2013, 07:58 PM Reply Like
  • My vote goes to Gordon Ramsey - it would at least get him off television for a few years.
    27 Sep 2013, 07:20 PM Reply Like
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