Top Investors Urge Microsoft to Consider Ford Co-CEO Alan Mulally and CSC CEO Mike Lawrie as Ballmer’s Replacement

Former Nokia chief Stephen Elop has emerged as the odds-on frontrunner to replace Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, and while that may very well come to fruition, there are other candidates worth considering. Two of them include Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences Corp's (CSC) CEO Mike Lawrie.

Citing "several sources familiar with the matter," Reuters says Microsoft and its special committee tasked with finding the company's next chief has a list of about 40 potential replacements it's considering. The list includes a mix of internal and external candidates for the job.

Alan Mulally

Investors would be happy with either Mulally or Lawrie, both of which have favorable track records when it comes to turning companies around. But are they available?

The 68-year-old Mulally is expected to stay with Ford until the end of next year, though the sources who say he's a candidate insist that he'd be willing to step down earlier if the right opportunity presented itself. Having the chance to lead Microsoft into the mobile era could be that opportunity. Plus, Mulally already has a home in Seattle from his days (well, four decades, actually) at Boeing.

As for Lawrie, he's a seasoned IT executive who spent almost three decades at IBM working alongside Microsoft's John Thompson.