Microsoft CEO Search Stalling

Jean-Louis Gassee on the ongoing search for a Microsoft CEO:

Now, place yourself inside the heart and mind of this intelligent candidate:

“Do I want to work with that Board? In particular, do I want Bill Gates and his pal Steve Ballmer hovering over everything I do? I know I’ll have to make unpopular decisions and upset more than a few people. What’s in it for me – and for Microsoft – in a situation where unhappy members of the old guard would be tempted to go over my head and whine to Bill and Steve? How long would I last before I get fired or, worse, neutered and lose my mind?”

Consider it a litmus test: Any candidate willing to accept this road to failure is automatically disqualified as being too weak. A worthy contender makes it clear that he or she needs an unfettered mandate with no Office Of The Second Guessing in the back of the boardroom. Bill and Steve would have to go — but the Old Duo doesn’t want to leave.

This would certainly explain why Microsoft is taking so long to put a successor in place.

Also, here’s an interesting bit of info about the whole escapade I didn’t realise: Microsoft has recruited an external executive recruitment firm to search for CEO candidates. You could see this one of two ways; either they’re really going out of their way to make sure every potential candidate is uncovered, or they’re flailing.

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