Microsoft expects CEO appointment early 2014
By Bill Rigby
SEATTLE (Reuters) - The board member leading Microsoft Corp's search for a new chief executive said on Tuesday he expects an appointment to be made early next year, the first time the board has been so specific on timing.
The announcement suggests the world's biggest software company is nearing the end of its search for a new leader, which began in August when Steve Ballmer announced his plan to retire within 12 months.
Microsoft pledged to pick a successor within that timeframe, although most investors had expected the process to be finished by December or January.
"It's a complex job. I don't think it's surprising that it is taking some time to try to find the right person," said Kirk Materne, an analyst at Evercore Partners.
Microsoft shares were down 1.1 percent at $36.47 on Nasdaq.
"We're moving ahead well, and I expect we'll complete our work in the early part of 2014," Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson said in a blog post on the company's website.
Thompson is leading the four-man committee to find a new CEO, which includes co-founder and chairman Bill Gates.
Sources familiar with the search process have told Reuters that the committee is down to a "handful" of candidates, including Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mulally, at least one external candidate from the technology industry and one or two internal candidates. Continued...