Will Mulally Leave Ford For Microsoft?

CEO Alan Mulally and Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr
CEO Alan Mulally and Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr

Current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced back in August that he’s stepping down from the company sometime in the next year and reports are that Ford CEO John Mulally might be his successor. Not so fast, say the folks at Ford.

According to Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, Mulally isn’t going anywhere just yet. He told reporters at a United Way fundraising event in Detroit that Mulally is still very involved and working on Ford’s long-term, strategic planning.

Mulally took the position at Ford back in 2006 and has been credited for turning the company around and completely changing its corporate culture to better suit today’s world. As recently as November of 2012, Ford said that he’d be remaining with the company through at least 2014.

But that was before Ballmer announced his plans to leave Microsoft and left what could be a very attractive opening for Mulally.

No one is confirming anything, of course, but the rumor mill is working overtime on this one. Ford is busy trying to convince everyone that Mulally isn’t going anywhere even while news that the board is willing to accept his departure from the company earlier than expected is making the rounds.

Speculation is that Mark Fields is a very likely successor, regardless of whether Mulally steps down next week or next year. Yeah, the guy who’s saying Mulally is staying put is the guy likely to take his place.

What does Mulally say about all this furor over when he’s leaving Ford and where he’s going? Not a heck of a lot, other than the original plan of leaving in 2014. He as denied that he’s going to Microsoft, but a denial today doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be taking the job tomorrow.

The only thing that’s certain is that Mulally’s tenure with Ford is coming to an end, leaving Ford with some big shoes to fill.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.