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Methinks Ford doth protest too much. From Bloomberg:

Ford Motor Co. (F) Executive Chairman Bill Ford emphasized the abilities of the company’s next generation of executives while reiterating the No. 2 U.S. automaker’s plan for Alan Mulally to remain chief executive officer.

“The plan is he’s going to stick around,” Ford, 56, said of Mulally in an interview today with Bloomberg Television. “I’m happy he’s sticking around. But we also feel really good about where we are in terms of succession.”

Ford is moving to quell speculation about an imminent departure by Mulally, 68, after technology-news website AllThingsD and Reuters named him as a candidate to become the next CEO of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields, the top candidate to next lead the Dearborn, Michigan-based carmaker, last month reiterated a plan announced in November for the CEO to remain through at least 2014.

Just speaking for myself, if my present employer told me, “Ed, we are definitely keeping you around until the end of next year”, I would be a bit concerned about my job future. Admittedly, Mulally is 68, so he could be thinking about retirement. But if he isn’t, Microsoft presents him a tremendous opportunity, especially if they throw in a big payday with it.

But what about previous CEO frontrunner, Stephon Elop? He did a decent job with Nokia, but it wasn’t enough. While Nokia is quite competitive in Europe, they are still losing in other areas, namely the U.S. and China. Elop is what I would call the lowest acceptable alternative: He’s a gamble, because he never had the resources to work with at Nokia, which he will have at Microsoft. But that can be both good and bad.

Ultimately, if I am Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, and looking at both Elop and Mulally as candidates for my CEO, I am handing a blank check to Mulally.

At this point, I think you have to value Microsoft being under a CEO Elop, but you have to buy it as potentially being under CEO Mulally.

I added MSFT to my IRA portfolio today at $33.45. But if Mulally ends up at Microsoft, I may transfer it to my 401k as a long-term holding. I may end up doing it anyway, just because it is a solid company with a decent dividend.


Posted October 1, 2013 by edmcgon in Portfolio Moves, Technology

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