Exclusive: Ford board aims to pin down CEO Mulally's plans
By Deepa Seetharaman and Nadia Damouni
DETROIT/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's board of directors plans to press Chief Executive Alan Mulally soon for a decision on his future, as speculation intensifies that he may be offered the job of CEO at Microsoft Corp.
Mulally, 68, is one of a handful of candidates still in contention for the Microsoft role, according to several sources close to the technology giant, and he has not tried to dispel talk that he is interested in the job.
That has begun to vex some on Ford's board, two sources told Reuters this week, and the issue will be discussed when the board meets in the Detroit area on Thursday.
Mulally is a board member but it is not clear if he will attend the board meeting. The sources said that directors intended to raise the issue with him this week or next.
"It's drowning out the rest of the story," said one source close to Ford's board. "People don't write about Mustang, they don't write about earnings, they write about Mulally."
That has led to frustration and a desire for clarity, the source said.
Microsoft declined comment on the progress of its CEO search, and a Ford spokesman repeated earlier statements that Mulally is slated to stay as Ford CEO through 2014, although it emerged in September that the board would be open to him leaving earlier than that.
Several prominent Microsoft investors have campaigned behind the scenes for Mulally to succeed the retiring Steve Ballmer, and media attention has focused on him over the past few months. Sources with knowledge of the tech company's hunt for a new leader say Mulally is among a "handful" of contenders, and that Microsoft is strongly considering a younger, more tech-savvy external candidate. Continued...