Alan Mulally – one of a few candidates thought to be in the running to become the next Microsoft chief executive – has officially ruled himself out of the race.
After Steve Ballmer announced his imminent retirement last summer, the rumour mill has been in overdrive, with Mulally among a handful of contenders thought to be under consideration alongside internal chiefs Satya Nadella and Tony Bates and Nokia boss Stephen Elop.
But the Ford boss, who is reported to have a close friendship with Ballmer (pictured), officially ruled himself out of the running today, saying the rumours were a distraction for the car maker.
He told the Associated Press (AP) news agency: "I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford. You don't have to worry about me leaving."
He added in the AP interview that the speculation was distracting for Ford.
When Ballmer broke the news of his retirement last August, he said he would stay on for a maximum of 12 months to help find a successor and before Christmas the vendor said an announcement on his replacement would be due in "early 2014".
Two sources told Reuters today that a decision was close as the vendor was down to just a "handful" of candidates. Microsoft said it initially made a list of about 100 potential people to take over from Ballmer.
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