Sources tell Reuters that a number of leading Microsoft (MSFT) stakeholders are pressuring the company to seek a new CEO who can reverse the struggling software giant’s fortunes.
While Microsoft’s board has been working its way through a list of around 40 candidates to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, the sources indicate that three of the company’s biggest investors have suggested the current head of Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), Mike Lawrie, and Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally for the top spot.
The board is consulting with leading Microsoft shareholders as it seeks a successor for Ballmer, but it isn’t known whether Mulally or Lawrie is among the list of candidates actually under consideration. A new CEO could be named before the end of the year.
Microsoft has struggled in recent years to establish a foothold in the mobile device market. Its latest operating system, Windows 8, hasn’t generated the expected amount of consumer enthusiasm as PC sales continue to decline.
Ballmer announced late last month that he would retire within a year.
Microsoft recently announced plans to acquire struggling handset maker and Windows Phone partner Nokia (NOK), generating speculation that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop could end up taking the software-maker’s reins.
Shares of Microsoft rose modestly in Tuesday morning trading.