Let’s Hear It: How Much Should Bill Gates Be Involved With The New CEO?

The big news, ladies and gentle people is that Alan Mulally is out of the race for the post of Microsoft CEO. Yes, his exit, although not unexpected, was as fast as his entry.

But if you are expecting some fireworks this month, you may have to wait.

Word is that Microsoft co-founder is now much more involved with the technology titan’s search for a new leader. There were hints of this before, and Gates himself states that he plans on spending considerable time with Microsoft’s new CEO.

As a result the CEO announcement has been delayed. A bit.

The Lowdown On The CEO Search

The latest on the matter is that Redmond will not name its new CEO to take over from Steve Ballmer in January. This report by Kara Swisher of Re/code claims that Gates, who is currently the chairman of the company will be indisposed for the better part of the month.

And the bulk of his focus right now is on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he is working on the charity foundation’s annual latter (lengthy business). Only when that is done and dusted, he will be available to focus on the thick of things at Microsoft.

Bill Gates is part of the special committee set up by the board to finalize a new CEO, and though on the onset it seemed that Microsoft board member John Thompson was leading the charge, it now appears that Gates has a bigger say on the selection.

It is a consensus based approach, and there is every chance that the board members debate and vote on what they feel is the best candidate to lead the company through these interesting times, but it seems like Microsoft has taken a bit more of a dictator-like stance with Bill Gates at the helm.

Wait — Dictator?!

Sure, no one likes these power mongers, and people usually try to throw them out. But while politically speaking a dictatorship is a bad idea, when you think about it in terms of corporate governance, you can imagine how quickly things get done without wrangling debates that go on and on.

So while discussions certainly (and rightfully) take place within the Redmond offices, ultimately it is Bill Gates that has his finger on the button, the final say in who comes onboard.

The source cited in the above report claims that nothing is going to happen without Gates, and that ultimately is a good thing when you consider some of the agendas (investors and otherwise) that have come out in the media these past few months.

Current Standings

With Alan Mulally of Ford making official his exit from the race yesterday, the list of known names that are in the running shrinks just a tad. There is Satya Nadella — the company’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group — who now takes the lead.

He is followed by Tony Bates that serves as the executive vice president of the business development and evangelism group at the company. Stephen Elop, the former Nokia head, finds himself in third position according to the aforementioned report.

The baffling part of this ordeal is that Redmond does not have a succession plan in place!

All three are internal options and will be aware of how things are run at the company. The list of external candidates remains very much unknown at this point, but an external candidate may be somewhat wary of working alongside (or in the shadow) of Bill Gates.

In any case, it seems that ware are in the final stretch of things here.

Those few that enamored for Bill Gates to return to the company in full capacity can at least take solace in the fact that the charismatic and knowledgeable co-founder of Microsoft will at least be much more involved in proceedings for the foreseeable future.

On the flipside it also means that a company outsider may just take charge. Nothing is set in stone!

What do you think about this?

Is the involvement of the mastermind behind Microsoft’s success necessary to take the company to newer heights? If so, at what level? Or should the company opt for new blood with complete control to chart a new direction.

The comment box below is open for business. Let’s hear it!

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • jjstccean

    Introduce the CEO, whom ever he/she will be – and allow Bill in – let him taste the tea and dunk a biscuit. Young people today will in any event take Microsoft to new heights with future technologies, technology Bill may not have thought about yet. If they mess in the kitchen, then Bill can step in – make corrections where needed and shuffle important positions to where it counts. Bill, will be too busy in any case with the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”.

    • Fahad Ali

      Sane words! And very well put. This is the best way forward, the middle of the road, and hopefully this is what happens in the end.