Sources tell Reuters that the company is now looking at just five candidates from outside the company. In addition to the outsiders, Microsoft’s board is also considering three inside candidates, including the CEO of its Skype unit.
Here are the four of the candidates cited by Reuters:
- Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally
- Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop
- Tony Bates, who heads Microsoft’s business development
- Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise chief
While the list may be getting shorter, the process of choosing a new CEO is still expected to take months. Some Microsoft shareholders have pressured the board to seek someone who can turnaround the company, which has struggled in the mobile device market.
Mulally is considered a strong candidate for the top spot at the software giant and Ford recently hinted he might depart the automaker earlier than previously expected.
Some shareholders have demanded that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates also leave the company.
Ballmer announced plans to retire back in August.
Microsoft shares climbed almost 2% in Wednesday pre-market trading.