Ericsson’s Vestberg lining up for Microsoft CEO position

The Boardroom

by Ben Sullivan| 16 January 2014

“I’ve spent all my life in Ericsson, and I will never regret that” says Vestberg.

Hans Vestberg, the CEO of tech company Ericsson, is being considered to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft.

Vestberg, who is running alongside a number of other candidates, said that they did not want to be identified because the process is private.

Bloomberg, which reported the news, said that the board has yet to make a decision, but Microsoft cloud-computing chief Satya Nadella and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop are on the list.

John Thompson, Microsoft's lead independent director, said that the board's initial list of 100 candidates has now been narrowed.

"We never comment on rumours and speculation," said Ola Rembe, a spokesman for Stockholm-based Ericsson, in response to questions fired by Bloomberg about Vestberg's Microsoft candidacy.

Last week Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who was being considered for candidacy, dropped out of the running.He said that he plans to stay with the car manufacturer. Mulally also faced criticism for not having enough experience in the technology sector for a job at Microsoft.

Other CEO candidates have included Microsoft Executive Vice President Tony Bates and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, Bloomberg reported.

Hans Vestberg joined Ericsson in 1988 and became CEO in January 2010. Since rising to the top, he has overseen the halt of the Sony Ericsson joint venture, and invested into services like running networks for phone companies.

Under Vestberg's leadership, Ericsson shares have risen around 19 per cent, with revenues up from 206 billion kronor ($32 billion) in 2009 to 225 billion in 2013, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Last September, Ericsson completed its acquisition of Microsoft's Mediaroom unit, which makes software used by phone companies to deliver TV services via broadband networks.

"I've spent all my life in Ericsson, and I will never regret that because it's a fantastic company," Vestberg said on a video on the Ericsson website.

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