Ford's Board Waiting to Hear About Mulally's Future Plans
Is he in or out?
The 68-year-old executive is considered to be the front runner to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Microsoft is searching for an executive, potentially an outsider, that can steer the technology giant in a new direction, as the company struggles in the fast-paced and rapidly-changing mobile era.
Mulally is credited with turning around Ford from its 2008 recession lows.
According to Reuters, two sources revealed that the board is running out of patience, which is leading to a frustrating and distracting environment. “It's drowning out the rest of the story,” said one source. “People don't write about Mustang, they don't write about earnings, they write about Mulally.”
Ford is set to release several key launches in 2014, including a radical overhaul of one of its most profitable vehicles, the F-150 pickup truck.
Microsoft continues to decline commenting on its CEO search, while a Ford spokesman reiterated previous statements that Mulally is on board through 2014.
Despite Ford's statements, some analysts remain confident that Mulally will be booking himself a one-way ticket from Detroit to Microsoft's headquarters in Washington sooner than later.
“We view these as non-denial denials,” Rick Sherlund, analyst at Nomura noted in a research report on December 5. If Mulally intends to stay with Ford throughout 2014, “it would be easy to say I am not interested and will not go, as some other candidates have said. He does not say this.”
The analyst concluded, "We view these comments as non-answers to the question and appear to us to be consistent with our view that he is in discussions with Microsoft's board for the CEO slot at Microsoft.”
Mark Fields, Ford's COO with 24 years of experience at the company, is ready to jump in to the driver's seat when needed to take over as the company's new CEO, whenever this might be.
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