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Microsoft investors want turnaround expert as next CEO

Ford co-CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences CEO Mike Lawrie are being touted as Steve Ballmer's replacement, says Reuters.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Build 2013 in June.
Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Build 2013 in June. James Martin/CNET

Some of Microsoft's top investors are looking for a turnaround expert to take over the CEO role from Steve Ballmer, according to Reuters.

Citing "several sources familiar with the matter," Reuters reported Tuesday that at least three of the company's top 20 investors are already pushing the board to consider Ford Motor co-CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences CEO Mike Lawrie for the position.

Why these two men?

Both are credited for their ability to resuscitate companies in trouble. Mulally has earned kudos for a restructuring plan that helped return Ford to profitability. Lawrie as former CEO of UK-based Misys pulled off a revival of that company and is now trying to get Computer Sciences back on track with a turnaround plan, Reuters said.

A Ford spokesman told Reuters that Mulally plans to continue as Ford president and CEO through at least 2014. Computer Sciences declined to comment on the interest on Lawrie among Microsoft investors.

To replace Ballmer, who recently revealed plans to retire within the next 12 months, Microsoft's board has formed a special committee to seek out potential candidates. Meeting with Microsoft's shareholders, the committee has been narrowing down its list of possible successors from an initial 40 people, both internal and external. As such, a new CEO could be named by the end of this year, according to Reuters' sources.