Mulally has no intention of ditching Ford anytime in 2014

Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has been a rumored top candidate on the list for Microsoft's next CEO, but he's tired of being asked about it and wants to settle the subject once and for all.

According to The Detroit News, Mulally told the Associated Press that he's staying with Ford through the end of this year, and isn't ditching in favor of Microsoft anytime in 2014. This is the first time Mulally gave a clear answer about the Microsoft topic himself. Before this, he pretty much gave vague answers like, "I love serving Ford."

Mulally was reportedly tired of being asked about Microsoft at each interview, and despite other Ford executives and spokespeople saying that Mulally was staying through the end of the year, many were waiting for a clear, public answer from Mulally himself (even though he briefly mentioned at a holiday party last month that there was no change in the plan for him to stay through 2014). 

This could throw Mulally out of the running for Microsoft's next CEO, since the tech company's current CEO Steve Ballmer announced last August that he was retiring within one year's time, and Mulally staying through 2014 would overshoot that time table. However, Mulally wouldn't say whether he was in talks with Microsoft or not regarding the position. So until a new CEO is named, there's always a chance Microsoft's future could be led by the man who turned Ford around.

Alan Mulally

There are a lot of reasons why Mulally is a strong candidate for Microsoft's next CEO. For starters, he successfully helped Ford return to profitability after becoming CEO in 2006 when the No. 2 automaker had struggled during the late-2000s recession. It was also the only American major car manufacturer to avoid a bailout fund from the government.

Aside from Mulally's experience with large American companies and turnarounds, he's close with Microsoft and Ballmer. Ford and Microsoft partnered up for Ford's SYNC system, and in 2009, Mulally delivered a new Ford Fusion directly to Ballmer as celebration of the one-millionth Ford with SYNC. 
Also in 2009, Ballmer wrote a profile on Mulally for TIME as part of "The 2009 TIME 100." Ballmer wrote about Mulally's various accomplishments with both Boeing and Ford, and credited him with the survival of the auto industry. 
Ballmer even sought the advice of Mulally earlier last year for the restructuring plan for Microsoft.

Last month, Ford Director Edsel Ford II said that Mulally would be staying with the automaker through 2014 because the CEO made those intentions clear to the board.
“Frankly, he has told us that his plan is to stay with Ford through the end of 2014,” said Ford.

Source: The Detroit News

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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