Summary:

The slow-mo succession continues with Hans Vestberg as the latest tech exec to surface as the potential successor to Steve Ballmer at Microsoft.

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Another day, another candidate for Microsoft CEO. This time it’s Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg who’s being considered by thesoftware giant as a successor to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, according to Bloomberg. 

Vestberg clearly has a  background in mobile, which is a key consideration for Microsoft, which is trying to drive Windows Phone and Surface tablet adoption.

Over the past month other candidates — all named by anonymous sources — have included Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who recently pulled his name from consideration. Qualcomm President Steven Mollenkopf’s name was also bandied about, and days later he was promoted to CEO of that company. And there are a several internal candidates including Satya Nadella, Stephen Elop, who heads up all devices, and Tony Bates who leads business development.

One of the big questions around a successor is whether he or possibly she will have to deal with two past CEOs on the board if both Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates retain their seats. Any high-octane CEO candidate would want to hold the reins and set strategy. And that means not necessarily be bound by the “one Microsoft” reorg announced last summer.

To be clear, a Microsoft spokesman told me a few weeks ago that while both Ballmer and Gates were re-elected to Microsoft’s board at the last annual meeting, and Ballmer will remain on the board as long as he is CEO, the company has nothing to say regarding the board composition “post new-CEO.” 

So it’s clear as mud as to how many ex-Microsoft CEOs Vestberg or whoever wins the CEO sweepstakes will have to deal with going forward.

A report last month in Re-code made it clear that Gates will have an active role in picking the next CEO in what could be a signal to prospects.

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