Microsoft CEO Candidate Alan Mulally Sets the Record Straight, Says He's Staying at Ford

Shortly after Steve Ballmer announced his plans to step down as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft, the search began in earnest to replace him and one name that kept coming up was Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford who is contractually obligated to remain with his company through 2014. Had he been offered the job at Microsoft, there's no doubt Mulally would have been able to buy out his contract, but up until recently, it was all speculation. Apparently tired of fielding the same question over and over, Mulally finally addressed the giant elephant in the room. His answer?

According to an article in The Detroit News, Mulally told the Associated Press in an interview that he plans to stay with Ford at least through the end of 2014. If true, his decision to ride out his contract at Ford officially takes him out of the running to replace Ballmer, who had given Microsoft 12 months notice to find a new CEO.

Alan Mulally
Image Source: Flickr (Joseph Hunkins)

Mulally could have ended speculation weeks ago, but his prolonged silence on the matter indicates that he hadn't yet decided if he wanted to pursue a job at Microsoft. Having now made a decision, the timing of his announcement comes just ahead of next week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ford is planning to showcase its next generation F-150 pickkup truck at the show.

"Alan has made clear that he has no plans to do anything else than continue serving Ford," Ford spokesman Jay Cooney told The Detroit News. "He remains absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan."

That's one more name Microsoft can cross off its list. Speculation now is likely to be split between former Nokia chief Stephen Elop and enterprise guru Satya Nadella. Former Skype president Tony Bates is yet another name Microsoft is considering for the job.