Microsoft wants Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg as replacement for Steve Ballmer

After failing to attract heads of Qualcomm, Ford, etc. Microsoft has turned its CEO search engine towards Ericsson chief executive officer Hans Vestberg as a possible successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.

The reason is clear. Hans Vestberg is one of the successful CEOs in the telecom equipment industry competing with rivals such as Huawei, NSN, Alcatel-Lucent, etc.

Bloomberg did not report on whether the company has reached out to Vestberg, who as CEO of the Swedish firm runs one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment makers.

Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg

Microsoft sources earlier said it would announce the new CEO before March. Industry reports suggest that the life of the new CEO in Microsoft will be tough due to ambition of the top management and complex business portfolios to handle.

Earlier, analysts have discussed potential candidates ranging from company insiders Satya Nadella and Tony Bates to several outsiders. But speculation refocused on internal choices this month after leading external candidate, Ford Motor Co CEO Alan Mulally, took himself off the list.

Sources familiar with the company have told Reuters that, with Mulally out of the running, the list of candidates able to run a globe-spanning software corporation struggling to expand into the mobile software and devices markets was thin.

Analysts say Microsoft may have to look at “dark horse” candidates, but noted that some widely reported tech sector candidates, including Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz, have already declined to take the job.

According to a Reuters report, in a blog post on the company’s website in December, Microsoft’s lead independent director John Thompson, who is spearheading the search, emphasized the need for a CEO with good tech credentials and “an ability to lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent.”

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