One person the board is considering to take the place of co-founder Gates as chairman is John Thompson, Microsoft's lead independent director, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. Gates may still play an active role at the Redmond, Wash., company that he founded in 1975, depending on the wishes of the board and new CEO, the people said.
Nadella emerged as one of the stronger candidates to replace departing CEO
Thompson, who is heading the CEO search, wrote in a blog post last month that the board plans to complete a search for CEO in the "early part of 2014." He said the board started with more than 100 candidates and has since narrowed the list. Ballmer said last August that he planned to retire within a year.
Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment.
The company also considered internal candidates that included Executive Vice President Tony Bates and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner. External candidates have included former
Some CEO candidates have declined to be considered or dropped out of the running. Vestberg has said he plans to stay at Ericsson. Mulally took himself out of the running this month.