Microsoft founder Bill Gates gave an emotional update on the hunt for a new chief executive at a meeting for shareholders last night, but remained tight-lipped as to when a successor would be crowned.
Current boss Steve Ballmer announced his plans to retire in August and said he would stand down within 12 months.
Speaking to shareholders, Gates (pictured) said the search – which included both internal and external candidates – was going well and he was pleased with how it was panning out.
"We have been doing a lot of meetings... and we are pleased with the progress," he said.
"In fact, we met last night and talked a lot about where we are... It's a complex role to fill, a lot of different skills, experience, and capabilities that we need.
"It's a complex global business that the new CEO will have to lead. And they will have to drive across fundamental transitions to create new growth and to attract and manage top talent."
Reports have emerged suggesting that five candidates are in the running, including Nokia boss Stephen Elop, Ford boss Alan Mulally and Microsoft execs Tony Bates and Satya Nadella.
CRN readers can vote for who they think Microsoft should plump for in our latest poll.
Gates simply said a "number of candidates" were being assessed and that he would not give a timeline as to when the new boss would be announced.
The Microsoft president held back tears as he paid tribute to Steve Ballmer and looked forward to the company's new era.
"We [have] got a commitment to make sure that the next CEO is the right person for the right time for the company we both love," he said tearfully.
"And we shared commitment that Microsoft will succeed as a company that makes the world a better place, so thank you for your support."
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