Microsoft to name new CEO in 'early part of 2014'

Almost four months have passed since Steve Ballmer announced his plan to resign as Microsoft's CEO. Ballmer isn't scheduled to step down until August 23, 2014, but according to one of Microsoft's board members, the company may get a new CEO before then.

Writing for the official Microsoft Blog, board member John W. Thompson says the search for a new Microsoft CEO is "moving ahead well." More importantly, he adds, "I expect we'll complete our work in the early part of 2014."

Thompson goes into a little but if detail about the search process, as well:

The Board has taken the thoughtful approach that our shareholders, customers, partners and employees expect and deserve. After defining our criteria, we initially cast a wide net across a number of different industries and skill sets. We identified over 100 possible candidates, talked with several dozen, and then focused our energy intensely on a group of about 20 individuals, all extremely impressive in their own right. As you would expect, as this group has narrowed, we’ve done deeper research and investigation, including with the full Board.

The rumor mill has named a number of possible candidates for the job, including former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally. Considering his past history at Microsoft, Elop seems like a plausible pick. A recent Bloomberg report suggested that, if made Ballmer's replacement, Elop would considering shuttering Bing and selling Microsoft's Xbox business.

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