Shares of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) are moving up in premarket trading — and conversely, shares of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) are moving down — as current Ford CEO Alan Mulally announced on Tuesday that he will in fact be remaining with the automaker through the end of 2014, putting to rest speculation that he may take the top job at the software firm to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer’s announcement of his retirement from Microsoft’s lead position kicked off one of the more high-profile CEO searches of late, as a number of Microsoft insiders — as well as a handful of outsiders, including Mulally — were reportedly under consideration. When it was revealed that Mulally had made it onto the short list of candidates, the speculation only intensified as analysts and investors wondered if he would remain with Ford for the remainder of the year. It seems that has now been cleared up.
“Alan made it perfectly clear that he wanted to end all speculation. He has no plans to do anything else other than continue serving Ford,” spokesman Jay Cooney told USA Today.
Mulally also noted that the continuous inquiring about his future had become a distraction for Ford. He also declined to reveal to USA Today if he held talks with Microsoft about the position. Regardless, his decision is consistent with former statements that he is happy and content at Ford, and has been scheduled to stay through 2014 for some time.
Mulally came to Ford in 2006, on the eve of what would become a defining period for the U.S. economy as a whole, let alone the auto industry. Under Mulally’s command, Ford navigated financial crisis without the need for a federal lift and averting bankruptcy altogether.
Members of Ford’s board had reportedly grown impatient over the several months that Mulally went without offering a decisive answer, as the CEO was given the option to choose what he wanted to do. Karl Brauer, a senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, asserted it was a move Mulally had to take.
“We see the other players in the space settling down for an important year,” Brauer told USA Today. “If Mulally hadn’t done it, they would have continued (with) misdirection and questions about who is running Ford.”