The shortlist of candidates to replace Microsoft's outgoing chief executive Steve Ballmer has narrowed, and includes high profile business leaders from both inside and outside of Microsoft.
According to information gathered by Reuters, Microsoft has a shortlist of eight, including Stephen Elop, chief executive of the recently bought out Nokia. Other candidates are said to be Microsoft strategy and business development manager Tony Bates, the firm's cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella and the co-chief executive of Ford Motor Company Alan Mulally.
Steve Ballmer announced in August that he was to step down as Microsoft chief executive within 12 months, and since then speculation as to who will replace him has been rife. Stephen Elop found himself firmly in the spotlight as a potential Microsoft CEO earlier this year after the firm spent €5.44bn on a buyout of Nokia's devices and services division. Elop will join Microsoft, but the position he will take is currently unclear.
Alan Mulally, the only other currently known external candidate, has been at the helm of Ford since 2006 and is widely credited with changing the struggling car firm's fortunes as the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 took its toll on many of the USA's biggest automakers.
Satya Nadella's cloud and enterprise division is one of Microsoft's strongest suits, as the rest of the company looks to find a foothold in a rapidly changing technology market. Tony Bates is the other Microsoft employee known to be in the running; he joined the firm in 2011 following Microsoft's buyout of Skype, at which he held the position of CEO.
Sources have told Reuters despite the smaller list of candidates, the selection process is expected to take a few more months.
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