Nokia's nemesis, Stephen Elop, now odds-on favourite to take over as CEO of Microsoft
Remarkably though he remains a member of the "Nokia Leadership Team" - whatever that is and whatever it might be leading. Sheep? A merry dance? A dead dog?
Now Mr. Elop has made it to the final shortlist of five candidates in line become the next CEO of Microsoft when bonny, bouncing, bounding, Ballmer bags-up and bogs- off to wherever he's going. Finland perhaps? If anyone put up this sorry saga as the plot for a book, any self-respecting publisher would ask the author to leave by the nearest exit - probably a Window.
Analysts here in the US are this morning opining that the experience Elop has gained at 'a major mobile company' (which Nokia was a mere three years ago) will be 'helpful' for Microsoft's mobile strategy. No shit, Sherlock!
It seems Microsoft originally slated 40 possible replacements for Steve Ballmer and this has now been whittled down to a short list of five. Apart from Elop, others are Alan Mulally the CEO of Ford, Tony Bates the sometime CEO of Skype and Sataya Nadella the head of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise business. The the name of the fifth one on the shortlist remains a mystery for now...
Microsoft certainly needs a credible mobile strategy. Steve Ballmer wasn't able to articulate one and spent much of his latter years focusing on things like the Surface tablet and Xbox gaming console as well as pushing more software sales over the Internet even as Apple and Samsung moved further and further ahead in the mobile race.
A turnround specialist is now needed and Alan Mulally has major experience here having saved Ford from a bailout by the US government back in 2009.
Nonetheless, Ladbrokes is this morning quoting Elop as the odds on favourite to get the top job with Mulally second at 6/1. Nardella is at 7/1 and Bates stands at 10/1. The bookmaker is quoting a dark horse at odds of 25/1. It is Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook!!
The market liked the listing and the odds and Microsoft shares were up 70 cents this morning at $36.64 - a six-year high.