A new rumor from Chinese site WPDang claims that current Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner will replace CEO Steve Ballmer temporarily, while former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will take over the company in two or three years. The report—which is just the latest in a string of unconfirmed rumors surrounding Microsoft’s CEO search—cites an unnamed source who says the company’s board has already reached its final decision. Until we hear otherwise, though, we’re still considering this a massive rumor.
WPDang makes an interesting argument however, noting that tapping the current COO to replace an outgoing CEO is something of an industry trend. Tim Cook replaced Steve Jobs following the Apple founder’s death, and Brian Krzanich replaced Paul Otellini as Intel’s CEO, though these two examples don’t necessarily prove a pattern exists.
It’s also a bit strange that Turner would knowingly take over as CEO for just a few years before handing over the reigns to Elop. Then again, with Microsoft in the midst of a major transition it might make sense to put someone with close knowledge of the company’s inner workings in charge. In a year or two, when Microsoft has finished its transition plans, Elop can take over control of the ship.