Microsoft Corp has added Ericsson boss Hans Vestberg to its list of candidates to succeed chief executive Steve Ballmer, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Ballmer announced in August 2012 that he would be stepping down within a year. Since then, Microsoft's board has been cautiously trawling for a replacement. Its efforts have been plagued by setbacks. At one time, Qualcomm chief financial officer Steve Mollenkopf was on the board's list. However, following a Bloomberg article alleging Microsoft's interest in him, Qualcomm promoted Mollenkopf to CEO the following day.
Microsoft investors have been clamouring for a turnaround specialist to lead the company, which, while still profitable, is worth just under a third of its $851bn peak value. Such a specialist was thought to have been found in Ford Motor Co's Alan Mulally, but after months of speculation, Mulally announced earlier this month that he intented to stay at Ford.
Remaining candidates are said to include Nokia's ex-CEO Stephen Elop and internal executives Satya Nadella, head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, and former Skype president Tony Bates, who leads Business Development and Strategy.
Vestberg joined Ericsson in 1988 and was CFO from 2007 to 2009. After becoming CEO in January 2010 he opted for the abandonment of the Sony Ericsson handset joint venture, pushing for greater focus on telecoms vendor services. During his tender, Ericsson shares have risen about 19%, according to Bloomberg.