Who could be Microsoft’s next CEO?

John Thompson, board member and search committee leader, Microsoft

A controversial contender, Thompson is in fact in charge of the search for the next CEO. He is also currently CEO of Virtual Instruments and was previously CEO of Symantec, giving him leadership experience that can only be matched by Myerson and Bates.

He has also acted as an advisor to US President Barack Obama.

However, the fact he has no direct management experience within Microsoft could count against him.

Kevin Turner, chief operating officer

Who better to take over as the new CEO than somebody who is already almost top of the tree? He also has experience within Wal-Mart as CIO and president and CEO of the chain's wholesale division, Sam's Club.

Going against him is the fact he has only ever been COO at Microsoft and does not have an engineering background, having spent most of his career as a professional salesman and motivator.

The bookies' favourite

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia

At 5/1 for, Stephen Elop, the Canadian head of Finnish phone manufacturer Nokia, is the bookmakers' favourite to take over from Ballmer. The only other contender coming close is Turner, who comes in at 6/1.

Elop has extensive experience working with and for Microsoft; he was head of Microsoft's business division between January 2008 and September 2010 before taking over as the first ever non-Finnish CEO of Nokia.

The close relationship between Nokia and Microsoft is no secret either, with the two forming a close bond over Windows Phone.

However, the question remains as to whether he would want to leave his current position to head back to his former employer.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialize in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.