Microsoft Board at Odds Over CEO Search, Company's Future Direction

Now that Steve Ballmer has announced his impending retirement, Microsoft is in search mode as it looks to hire a replacement Chief Executive Officer. It's the biggest decision facing Microsoft right now, followed by what comes next after hiring a new chief, a decision the incoming CEO will have significant input over. Given the magnitude of choosing a chief for one of the biggest tech companies in the world, you would expect some infighting among the board, but how much?

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the search for a new CEO has caused a rift among Microsoft's board members. There's some disagreement over who should assume the role, as well as the future of Microsoft and where it should focus its efforts.

Alan Mulally
Ford CEO Alan Mulally (second from left) is one potential candidate to replace Steve Ballmer.

This will be only the third CEO in Microsoft's history, and presumably the only one without any kind of ties to the original team that founded Microsoft and got the organization up and running. What's more, the incoming CEO will have to get right to work steering Microsoft in the right direction as the market continues to transition to mobile, an area that the Redmond outfit hasn't been hugely successful in.

Some of Microsoft's board members are intrigued by internal candidates, while others believe the next chief should be an outsider. There are some interesting candidates outside of Microsoft, including Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, and Charles Phillips, a former Oracle president. Citing people familiar with the matter, WSJ says Ballmer is especially intrigued by Mulally, though it's not clear how much influence he still has with the board.