Gates pleased with search for new CEO

City A.M. Reporter
MICROSOFT chairman Bill Gates said yesterday he was pleased with the software giant’s progress in finding a new chief executive and that the search committee had spoken to a number of candidates, but did not give a date by which he expected a new leader to replace the retiring Steve Ballmer.

Speaking at Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting in Bellevue, Washington, Gates paused briefly and choked up with emotion as he thanked Ballmer for his work at the company.

Gates then left the stage and sat in the front row of an audience of around 400 people, alongside other members of the board – a departure from previous years when he remained onstage and occasionally answered questions.

Microsoft has not shed much light on its CEO search, but sources close to the process have told Reuters the company has narrowed its shortlist of candidates to a handful.

Those sources have said the candidates include Ford Motor chief Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, as well as former Skype CEO and internal candidate Tony Bates, now responsible for Microsoft’s business development.

Microsoft remains highly profitable and last month beat Wall Street’s quarterly forecasts. But the company has come under criticism for missing some of the largest technology shifts in the past few years from internet search engines to social networking.