Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft (MSFT) has spoken with a minimum of eight CEO candidates from outside the company and two within it as part of its bid to find a successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.
While some of the candidates had been contacted as early as last week, none have yet sat down with the full board of directors. The search for a new chief executive hinges on whether the company wants to bring in a technology innovator or a management expert. The board is working with an executive search service.
The software giant is reportedly considering a number of possible corporate chiefs including Nokia‘s (NOK) Stephen Elop, Ford‘s (F) Alan Mulally and Oracle‘s (ORCL) Mark Hurd. Ballmer is said to be backing Mulally, though the weight of that support with the board remains unclear.
Whoever succeeds Ballmer will become only the third CEO to run Microsoft and will take the reins as the focus of the technology industry increasingly shifts towards mobile devices, where Microsoft has recently struggled.
Ballmer announced in August that he plans to step down within a year.
Some of Microsoft’s largest shareholders recently signaled a desire to see company co-founder Bill Gates step aside as chairman.
Shares of Microsoft rose slightly in Monday morning trading.