Who will be next Microsoft CEO after Steve Ballmer?

At 9:00 AM, Friday morning this past week, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer had something huge to announce. Something so big, that it concerned the future of the giant software firm. Steve Ballmer after leading Microsoft for about 13 years from the front will be retiring in next 12 months. Microsoft’s stock surged by 7% percent after news of Ballmer leaving, adding $24 billion to the company’s market capitalization. But what is surprising is that Microsoft hasn’t put lights on who is going to be their next CEO.

With Windows 8.1’s arrival round the corner, why he is retiring at such a time, is still being speculated. The fact that Microsoft hasn’t announced about its next leader, means two things, first, Microsoft is still looking for a suitable candidate and hasn’t reached to a conclusion yet, else, they would have announced its next CEO’s name on Friday itself. And two, I think the next CEO of this dominant firm at PC market could well be someone from outside of Microsoft!

While the guessing game is still on, these are the possible knights – in no particular order – we can think of, who could well take over the reign from Ballmer.

Next Microsoft CEO

Scott Hanselman

Scott Hanselman

He can code a storm, write a storm, speak a storm, he is sure too good at managing things and getting work done. Working in the Web Platform Team at Microsoft, Scott is an enthralling personality. And people have even made a Facebook page wanting him to be the next CEO. He may not have the experience as others may have, but he is considered to be a down-to-earth geek with a zest for community & technology.

Julie Larson-Green


Julie Larson has been working at Microsoft for over 20 years now. She started as a program manager for Visual C++. Later on, she joined the Office team. She has managed UI design of Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007. In July this year, when Steven Sinofsky left the firm, she stepped up and accord with the head of the newly formed Devices (Xbox One and Surface Tablet) and Studios Engineering Group.

Qi Lu

Qi Lu

The executive Vice President at Microsoft, Qi Lu has been managing the Bing search engine, Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Skype. Microsoft Office is one of the biggest thing the software giant offers, and since Qi Lu has been heading it, this makes him an apt runner in the CEO race.

Tony Bates


Tony Bates leads the Business development and Evangelism group. Bates joined Microsoft after it acquired Skype and worked at Cisco previously as the General Manager.

Satya Nadella


Satya Nadella runs the Cloud and enterprise engineering group. Nadella has varied skills having worked at various divisions of Microsoft. He is currently the Executive Vice President at Microsoft.

Eric Rudder


His role at Microsoft has spanned over years from networking to operating systems to developer tools as both a designer and a developer. He is presently the executive vice president of Microsoft’s Advanced Strategy and Research Group. His has been responsible for company’s overall technical strategy, policy and development efforts. At Microsoft Research, he leads his team at figuring and framing new software and other frameworks. Before this designated post, Rudder was the senior vice president of Server and Tools. And before that, he was vice president of technical strategy working directly with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. His experience and areas of expertise make him a very strong choice for the next CEO.

Stephen Elop


He was at Microsoft, then left the firm to become the CEO of Nokia. In a surprising turn of events, Nokia clubbed with Microsoft over Windows Phone 8 manufacturing. Although, share-wise, Nokia has went really down, and this could reflect his poor leadership skills, but things were quite green during his stay at Microsoft.

Well, any of these could become the next Microsoft CEO. Or some dark horse may race past the winning post and end up becoming the CEO. Or could Microsoft be looking for someone from outside to take over the reins? Only time will tell.

Who do you think will become the next CEO? One of them? Or someone from outside?

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  1. Scott

    Scott hanselman, Dude. you have lost your mind!

  2. Manish Kumar Singh

    Why sir? Don’t you think you should be included in the list? We definitely think you could be, may be, if not now, then in future!

  3. Manish Kumar Singh

    Hi Caleb, there are lot of potential candidates, we couldn’t list all 🙂

    We have listed the most probable ones.

  4. Mayur Tendulkar

    Scott, we just wish for it. You never know. But for sure, Microsoft community is in good hands like you. 🙂


  5. Syed Asrarullah

    No kidding, Scott. My bets are on you!

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