So all the Steve Ballmer bashing got me thinking the other day, if he just up and left, who would be the natural replacement for him?
When you get past all the hateful rhetoric and some of the deep and fairly valid criticism, Mr. Ballmer’s job is a pretty extraordinary one and since he has done this job for so long, he is a very impressive man.
Microsoft (MSFT) is a multinational company, is the world’s largest software maker, had revenues of 73.72 Billion in 2012, has approximately 97,000 employees, assets of $121 Billion in 3012 and a market capitalization of 286 Billion dollars.
Those numbers have to be pretty intimidating for anyone to handle andyou have to respect Steve Ballmer for being able to hold on to the reins of this beast for so long.
That only makes it more urgent to try and figure out, if Steve Ballmer suddenly left the scene, who would be in line to replace him?
Luckily my friend at ZDNet Mary Jo Foley had taken a crack at this question a while ago and had some names for us to ponder.
Let’s walk through some names:
Do we need a bio at this point? We all know Bill.
From his bio at Microsoft:
As Microsoft’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Microsoft’s worldwide sales, marketing, and services organization. Turner leads a global organization of over 47,000 employees, including field sales and marketing professionals who delivered US$77 billion in revenue during fiscal 2012.
In addition to driving sales and marketing programs, Turner manages the online advertising sales organization and corporate support organizations, including product and customer support services, branding, advertising, public relations, marketing research and relationship marketing.
Turner also oversees corporate operations and internal Information Technology that support the work of Microsoft’s over 90,000 plus employees around the world.
Impressive bio indeed.
From her bio at Microsoft:
Tami Reller leads business and marketing strategy for the Windows business. As chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the division, Reller is responsible for the business operations, financial performance and global marketing of all international releases of Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Services and Surface.
I actually thought he was the natural choice for this job 2 years ago and wrote about that here.
He started at Microsoft in 1989 and was there for 23 years. He ran a whole bunch of software for Microsoft including:
and he has an impressive bio.
From his bio at Microsoft:
Satya Nadella is president of Microsoft Corporation’s Server and Tools Business (STB), a US$19 billion division that builds and runs the company’s computing platforms, developer tools and cloud services.Nadella and his team deliver the “Cloud OS” – Microsoft’s next generation back-end platform. Designed for computing in the cloud era, the Cloud OS is a rich, consistent platform that spans private, public and service cloud providers and is capable of running at global, multi-datacenter scale.
Today, businesses everywhere depend on the products that make up the Cloud OS to meet their most challenging and critical computing needs, including Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, System Center and Windows Azure.
So who do I think will run Microsoft in a pinch?
On paper I think Kevin Turner would be the safe choice but would not be an ideal choice for the future of the company.
Microsoft is a big company that needs a big voice. Someone who will boldly declare where the company is going and make people pay attention. I don’t see that happening with Mr. Turner.
The main problem for succession planning here is that running Microsoft seems to require two skill sets that are almost mutually exclusive.
It’s a very tough dilemma and I’m not sure what the obvious answer is.
What do you all think?