Microsoft Moves CEO Search to 2014

Company has identified over 100 possible candidates, focused on about 20 individuals

Steve Ballmer retirement
David Becker/Getty Images

Microsoft isn’t in a rush to find a new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer.

The company said Tuesday that it expects to fill the position “early next year,” according to John Thompson, a board member who is leading Microsoft’s efforts to find a new corporate chief.

Thompson made the announcement on a Microsoft blog, saying “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. We’re moving ahead well, and I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014.”

Microsoft had wanted a successor in place by the end of 2013. Ballmer said in August he would step down within 12 months after a replacement is found.

Potential frontrunners included Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who will now remain as the CEO of the automaker through 2014. And Qualcomm chief operating officer Steve Mollenkopf will take over as CEO of that company in March.

SEE ALSO: Nokia Deal Can’t Keep Microsoft From Embracing Its Entertainment Future