Ballmer suggests need for faster change leading him to step down

"At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern. Face it, I'm a pattern," says Steve Ballmer (MSFT) during a WSJ interview regarding his decision to step down as Microsoft's CEO. "Maybe I'm an emblem of an old era ... the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change."

Both Ballmer and lead independent director John Thompson insist the oft-criticized Microsoft chief wasn't pushed out, but Thompson also says the board was "pushing [Ballmer] damn hard to go faster."

Even before announcing his planned departure, Ballmer was overhauling his management style in response to pressure, meeting with lieutenants in groups (as opposed to one-on-one) and calling for shorter and more frequent reports in an effort to increase collaboration.

The interview also provides more reason to think Alan Mulally is a top candidate to succeed Ballmer: Ballmer says a 4-hour talk with Mulally last Christmas Eve in which the Ford CEO stressed the importance of teamwork and brand simplification in remaking Ford acted as a wake-up call.

Seven months later, Ballmer announced a huge reorg. More recently, Microsoft axed a controversial employee-ranking system.

Yesterday: Microsoft reportedly narrowing CEO search

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Comments (3)
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2367) | Send Message
    Mulally doesnt seen to be a person to step away from a challenge. Naysayers said the same about him back in 2005 when entering Ford coming from an aeronautics company.
    16 Nov 2013, 10:53 PM Reply Like
  • King Rat
    , contributor
    Comments (1847) | Send Message
    I don't know much about Mulally but almost everything I do know is that he has a unique ability and work ethic to design a system that benefits (relative to competition) all stake holders from suppliers to employees to customers to equity holders to debt holders.
    He could work at any company from Alcoa to Zara and get them to perform way beyond anybody's expectations.


    The problem is, I really like what he's done at Ford and I don't want him to leave. I have full confidence that he would be a great fit at Microsoft, but would rather see him continue raising the bar at Ford. PLease Mr. Mulally, please please please don't leave Ford!
    17 Nov 2013, 12:37 AM Reply Like
  • wil3714
    , contributor
    Comments (2367) | Send Message
    Thinks he wants the challenge maybe he is bored. Ford is cyclical story while MS is restructuring story, rise and repeat by selling noncore assets.
    17 Nov 2013, 03:24 PM Reply Like
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