Ford's Alan Mulally dismisses rumored spot on Microsoft's CEO shortlist

Ford Alan Mulally

It's no secret Microsoft is looking for a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer, who announced his resignation in August. Since the press release was published, the company has been looking at numerous candidates, both internal and external. Ford CEO, Alan Mulally was believed to be on the shortlist, alongside Computer Sciences CEO Mike Lawrie.

In an interview with USA Today, Mulally maintains he's not planning to leave Ford for Redmond.

"I love serving Ford and have nothing new to add to (my) plans to continue serving Ford," stated Mulally in the interview. The reason Mulally was noted by the media is due to his ability to turnaround companies. Prior to working at Ford (arriving in 2006), Mulally was at Boeing for just shy of 40 years where he helped separate the company from its rival, Airbus. 

Alan Mulally has stated he will remain at Ford through 2014, but then anything can happen - and we weren't exactly expecting him to confirm any involvement with Microsoft. Then we have Nokia's Stephen Elop, the journey continues...

Source: USA Today (image credit: DailyTech); thanks, Jason, for the tip!


Reader comments

Ford's Alan Mulally dismisses rumored spot on Microsoft's CEO shortlist


No, they really do need something new now. Windows is in big trouble and in 5 years it can we where WP 8 is at right now. They really need someone who will put their fight over the fire and get them working. Windows 8 still doesn't have an official Facebook, instagram, and vine app and its the biggest OS in the world. Why? Developers are ignoring Microsoft for the first time ever and focusing on their enemies OS instead. Why? I think all the bridges they burned during the monopoly years are finally coming back to bite them in the @$$. Let's hope I'm dead wrong.

Does any other computer OS have dedicated apps for instagram and facebook? What on earth for would they ever have these?

You're forgetting that Windows 8 is also a tablet OS, and if you replace 'computer' with 'tablet' in your comment you'll see exactly what Blackhawk meant.

They need someone who can bring evangelism to the brand. Really round off the new marketing message they have. Ballmer is definitely passionate (as a founder, he should be) but he still comes across as a bit of a schoolboy. As much as I hate using 'Steve Jobs' as a noun, that's the kind of CEO they need to gain an aspirational position among the common customer.

Facebook app will be released this month, and the other 2 apps you mentioned will come to Windows Phone by the end of this year.
FYI Windows 8 is not the biggest OS in the world, Windows 7 is.

XP was the most used OS in the world, but now Windows 7 is number one.
Windows 7: 46%
Windows XP: 31%

Source: Net Market Share

Don't worry dude, you are obviously dead wrong. Windows 8 managed in a few monts to overtake all its conpetitors combined. It is in a great position, with 8.1 even those few people that refuse to learn anything new will mostly (haters will always hate) stop complaining. What bridges are you talking about? Microsoft has an excellent relationship with developers, OEM, etc, and windows 8 apps are growing incredibly fast with already 100.000 in less that a year. The fact that the marketplace for windows 8 and windows phone 8 will merge will greatly increase it even further. With the exception of Vista and possibly zune (great product, just marketed very poorly) Balmer did a great job at Microsoft and I applaud him for the visionary that he is. While other OS are still stuck with crappy icons and a 20 year old interface, windows is already gearing up for the future, a future that I will be proud to participate in. 

"Great product, just marketed very poorly" pretty much sums up Microsoft's single biggest problem. I mean, their marketing VP used to be head of finance... Is it really that hard for a multi-billion dollar corporation to hire a good marketing firm? Or is the Microsoft brand just unmarketable?

Always amazes me how everybody thinks they have an answer for how one of the most successful company's in this solar system can "succeed".
Stahp already! 

I think you are dead wrong with your analysis of Microsoft... They are not in big trouble at all....though I do believe Steve Ballmer must go!

You are right Blackhawk, it doesn't make sense that 6tag and make a WP instragam but instagram does not have the resources to make an app for windows 8 tablets rt, windows 8 or windows phones....windows 8 sold 60 million copies that's enough users there is another problem......in politics its similar to the international community not liking the USA anymore....

That's not the issue because MS is more than happy to produce that W8 app for Instagram... There's something sneaky going on behind the scenes, and I want to know what tha funk it is...

I got nothing against Ballmer. It's just he, Microsoft, are stuck on Windows.

With that said, I love Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone - what they could be, I'm all in on Microsoft tech - but they've yet to provide that devices and services cohesiveness/integration that benefits them, their customers, and their partners.

Microsoft should have been the leader in this new computing paradigm we see emerging.

What they need is someone with vision. Someone that can truly reimagine Windows - heck. Microsoft.

I think Ray Ozzie is that person.

Take a piece of paper and make 3 columns: successes/failurs/missed opportunities. This will be for the time Ballmer has been CEO. Now start filling them in. It is time for him to go.  

Prayers answered. Why would the malicious media even mention this guy? Oh that's right because apparently MS is about to go bankrupt and needs saving...smh

Then again what do you expect Alan to say? If he says he is in the lead, Ford stock would take a tumble and that is all he is worried about anyways

Who said they were going bankrupt? I said Alan is the type of CEO who comes to a company close to bankruptcy and rescues them. MS is no where near that, unless of course you listen to the fan boy media...

I really don't think Microsoft should replace a 57-year old CEO with a 68-year old CEO. How long is a 68-year old going to lead Microsoft? Besides, I like the direction Microsoft is going conceptually, I just wish they executed it better in some of the areas they're working in.

Microsoft is not about to go bankrupt. They've got plenty of money and repeat customers for profitable decades to come - well at least until the world's financial markets collapse into an unrecoverable state.

I wonder if he does become CEO. would he be able to handle such pressure for controlling such a tech titan??

Yes. This guy can.. Do you not understand how huge ford is❔.. I mean the government will have to bail Ford out for the benefit of a lot of economies if it becomes necessary...

With all due respect to Mulally, he turned Ford around by gutting it, selling off assets, and bargaining with union workers to accept a substantial reduction in pay. Not to mention that Ford is a much simpler company to run than Microsoft. Microsoft is very complex, with tons of platforms and services.
Alan Mulally doesn't know anything about consumer or enterprise technology, or tablets and phones. He's a transportation engineer. That doesn't exactly jive with what a Microsoft CEO has to be.
Sure, if you want someone to come into Microsoft and sell off Bing and Xbox, kill Surface tablets and Windows Phone, and turn Microsoft into IBM, Mulally is your guy.

Yeah I can breathe a sign of relief. Why in the world would a Car Manufacturer's (a crappy one at that) CEO be any good running a software (or devices and services) company? What do they have in common?

Ford is actually quite good. Having had rentals from Toyota, Hyundai, Chevy, Dodge, and VW, the Fords are far and away the best cars in their segments. And a lot of that has to do with the decisions Mulally has made. He's done that without really knowing much about cars.
CEOs are more about top-level strategy than knowing the nuts and bolts of the software. To a degree, the background doesn't matter.

Hmm. You might try owning those cars, rather than driving new cars for a few days. It'll give you a better picture of reliability.

Are you talking about the software issues they've had? Because he hasn't been around long enough for any differences in long-term reliability to show up yet.

That's not how it works.. He can do it❕ and do a great job at it.. He's not the engineer, or designer,, he's responsible for setting a path for success...

He's not a car guy either, but has been successful ar Ford. CEOs are more about top-level strategy than knowing the nuts and bolts of the software. To a degree, the background doesn't matter.

But Microsoft need someone who is passionate about technology, not just a business head. One of the criticisms of Ballmer was always that he was a salesman and not a visionary like Gates or Jobs. Look what happened to Apple when they kicked out Jobs after all. I know times are different, but I really don't think a businessman is what Microsoft needs, they need a leader who loves technology, understands technology and wants to drive MS to be the best - not just make a profit.

The best way to make a profit is to make the best products. Mulally understands that, the cars Ford is making now are much superior products to the ones they were making in 2006. There are times that people that come from within an industry can't see the forrest for the trees, (which I think has been part of MSFT's problem) and bringing in someone from the outside can help that.

It's not as simple as that.  The company that has the superior product is not always the market leader.  As an example, OS/2 was a much better product than Windows 3.1, but look who won that battle.
Loyal American buyers have been keeping the big three afloat for a long time.  If people always bought the best product, GM, Ford, and Chrysler would have all gone bankrupt long ago.

Fair point. Can't say I've ever considered a Ford cos they sure used to be crap, but it's been a long time since I've looked, perhaps as you say they are now decent. I do feel with technology you have to have more of a handle on the market than you do with cars which are a bit more generic. With cars it's about quality and service more than fast moving technology advancements. Certainly he will have advisors were he to take the job so he doesn't need to know or understand everything, but it would help.

He took a company that was in the dumps, gutted it, and paid employees less. That has very little to do with improving what is still one of the world's most profitable companies. If anything, Microsoft is a veteran at restucturing and making a profit. They need much more than that because they are competing at a much higher level than both Ford and Boeing.
Settling for being run like a cluster of financial car parts is not how you compete against Google and Apple. That's how you keep from going bankrupt. You can't claim that an industry outsider is needed when the only people really competing with Microsoft are industry insiders. 

Investors want profit though. They could care less about passion for tech or innovation. Its the profits that got Ballmer canned.

It's the mistakes, especially costly ones like the Surface that got him pushed out.
It's a sad day when a company is run by the behest of the investors for profit and nothing else. It's for such reasons DELL has gone private, so it can innovate without pressure just to make money. Profits will come if you innovate and bring out and market the best products.

Turns companies around? Well Ford Australia is going down the shitter big time so maybe focus on that first

He loves MS....Obama wouldn't take any shit, just like Steve Jobs made it clear he ran Apple! Ask any of Apple's employees, and He had a clear vision where he wanted to take Apple. Why do you think Barrack Stepped in in the case Samsung had against Apple????

Shut up and go back to work! lol

(for those less inteligence, the above sentence is a joke ;))

Barack? Lolzzzzz! We'd love to have a puppet for a CEO. Finally investors can do and get what they want.

I'm glad to see him sticking with Ford. He's got bigger fish to go after than AAPL Or GOOG. Namely GM. I do think he would make a good CEO of MSFT however. I read other comments saying that MSFT needs an  evangelist type CEO. Thats not what they need. They need someone like Mulally who isn't afraid to roll up their shirt sleeves and get dirty.
Whoever gets chosen its good to know they will still have Big Bill and likely Ballmer in the background to watch over.

He's already fried GM pretty well. If you just try to make yourself the biggest, you end up killing yourself like VW has done. Instead, he led Ford through 2008-2009 without being bought by the government.

This is the perfect guy, it will be beneficial to FORD AND NOKIA/MSFT this guy.
I wonder how much money they will throw at this guy though to leave FORD

At 70 and soon to retire with enough money to pay for his great great great grandchildren's college tuition, how much more money does he need?

I like him,but I don't like his age, it dont make sense for msft to have a CEO for 2 years, msft needs someone LONG term, young fresh and excited, ELOP I think can be a the perfect guy..

The tech world world/media/bloggers they can say whatever they want but this is the guy that save Nokia from being PALM,msft knew what was gona happen with nokia, and nokia knew it too, that's why they HIRED ELOP to become the CEO of NOKIA, all this companies know and they can predict the future, everything that we see ryt now with WINDOWSPHONE was strategized long time ago..

Oh why do I even bother with people like you? Elop righted Nokia, and understands technology, he'd be a good man for the job.

And by "rightned" you mean devalued the company on purpose to allow its easier destruction and the selling of parts of it for ridiculously low prices. Right?

Sorry, but you are dellusional. What else could anyone have done to make things go better than they have for Nokia? Continue with Meego and Symbian? Sorry nice as they were they could never compete with iOS or Android in the way WP is starting to. Gone for Android? Few people think they could have competed against Samsung in time there either and Google didn't offer the support Microsoft did. He slowed the decline and indeed in the last year Nokia's share price has doubled, if he was cheapening it for the sell off it'd have happened a year ago. Just because you don't like everything that has happened doesn't mean he the wrong thing.

He went to a company with the purpose of devalue it and make it weak enough so that it could be sold at a bargain to his former new employers, while being rewarded in the end with a massive paycheck for a job well done.

If this is not corruption, nothing is.

So then, the board could have chose Android and all is jolly. Nokia could have been a rich dominating force right at this moment.

The only thing corrupt is your logic. I can see how someone who loves Nokia could twist the facts to feel that way, but it just doesn't add up.

He's 68. He's retiring. Already been massively successful as CEO of Ford, he doesn't have anything to prove by going to MSFT, and has more than enough money to live the rest of his life extremely comfortably. Why on Earth would he want to continue in a high-stress position into his 70s? Whoever thought up this cockamamie scheme didn't think beyond "MSFT needs a new CEO, Mulally has been extremely successful, he must be on the short list!"
As far as car vs. software goes - the guy is an aero engineer. His last working-level job at Boeing was leading the cockpit design for the 757 and 767. Cars don't exactly have cockpits that resemble an airliner's. To a degree, CEOs are CEOs; it helps to have background specific to the field, but isn't always critical.

This is the best comment of the whole argument from day one❕.. Dude, you must be one of us lucky, or cursed, few to actually have perspective... Nice to meet you Bob.. Finally, a mature adult..

If he's out, I guess I can do it. Just let me know Steve and I will do my best to fill your shoes. How hard can it be?

Another news I read today, 3 investors want to oust Bill Gates from the board. These three apparently are afraid that Bill may have too much influence over the next CEOs decision making. Leaves me to believe they want the next CEO to split the company apart, as Paul Thuralratt thinks the idea is great. Alan Mulally is one I could see doing just that. If that's the imagined case, what would happen to MS's integrated ecosystem?

i have no idea why this guy is in the running, im thinking this is all media hype at this point. 
He did a great job with Ford/Boeing, ok great, but the tech landscape is a fast moving, quick to change, and agile industry, i just dont a guy with i am assuming little tech experience will be agile enough to lead MS.  The only reason you want this guy is to break up the company and do a wholesale restructure of the entire company, AGAIN!. 
I dont think the company needs to break out or be restructured,they need to focus on the products, build things that people want and provide software and services that people need and want as well.  You dont need a restructure to do that, you need great people to do that.  Skype is an example, skype could be a industry leading voice chat AND messaging platform, the problem is the UI is clunky and odd and the messaging sucks.  Do you need a restructure for that? no, you need people to make the decision to focus on it and improve.  

I propose a polar bear. I will do 1/2 as much damage as Elop and cost a lot less, also it feeds on pinguin which will help in the fight against Linux based Android.