Microsoft has narrowed down its search for Steve Ballmer’s successor to a list of five external candidates, and at least three internal candidates.
Reuters reported that an initial list of about 40 names has been whittled down to a handful. The external candidates include Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and previously rumored frontrunner Nokia CEO Stephen Elop. The other three external candidates have not yet been revealed.
As for internal candidates, the Reuters report has former Skype CEO (and current head of the Skype division) Tony Bates, as well as Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise chief Satya Nadella, as candidates still in the mix. Reuters did not have the name of the third internal candidate.
Current CEO Steve Ballmer announced in August he would retire within 12 months, but Reuters said that despite the shortlist, the search could still drag on for several more months. Bill Gates’ increased presence at the company since Ballmer’s announcement notwithstanding, there are no indications that he is considering a return as CEO.