Since the news broke that Steve Ballmer announced his retirement there's been quite a long string of articles and commentary written over who should replace Microsoft's exiting CEO. Internal candidates have been suggested and even Stephen Elop has been put on the short list since his return to Microsoft from the CEO position at Nokia. Just a day or so ago some have started proposing that turnaround expert Alan Mulally of Ford should take the captain's seat.
All too serious.
In the end, unless we're an investor or employee, we really don't care who manages Microsoft as long as they don't manage it into the ground.
So, let's have some fun with it. Here's the list of my top 3 candidates from movie and television who I think have some great CEO attributes and would bring immediate value to the areas in which Microsoft is severely lacking.
- Bruce Wayne – Depending on the storyline and writers liberties, Bruce is sometimes the CEO of Wayne Enterprises. While not an active CEO (he spends his nights fighting crime in Gotham City) he does run an organization that is highly diversified, successful, and wealthy. However, the best attribute Bruce would bring to Microsoft is his intent on innovation. Wayne Enterprises' research and development department is second to none, supplying all manner of cool gadgets. Oh, and he has beaten Superman a few times.
- Tony Stark – Tony Stark is another good candidate that has a comic book/movie/TV background. Tony runs Stark Industries and like Bruce not highly active. He's hands-on when he needs to be. Tony has experienced his company forcibly wrestled from his grip several times, only to come back and win back the thriving business his father built. Originally envisioned as an advanced weapons development and manufacturing arm for the US government. But Tony's biggest asset for taking the helm at Microsoft would be how completely overhauled the company, turning it into a depot for aeronautics, robotics, micro-technology, fringe science, and clean energy. Of course, in the comic books Tony did go through a bout of alcoholism that nearly destroyed himself and the company, but that could be avoided if Microsoft instituted regular breathalyzer check-ups.
- Don Vito Corleone – Not a true CEO, Don Corleone managed the largest crime family that stretched from New York City to Cuba. I'm not suggesting that a crime lord take over at Microsoft, but, while he was a tough cookie who would resort to whatever means to win the day, Don Vito was still a generous man who lived by a strict moral code of loyalty to friends and, above all, family. I know many who work at Microsoft and, for some of them, sometimes feel a bit sorry for all the hours they work and the time they spend away from family. The loyalty that Don Vito's employees showed to him was second to none. So, despite his propensity to literally snuff out his competition there was something about him that people liked. Of course, fear could be a factor, too. A wrong line of code, an update that bricks Surface tablets, and an employee could just disappear overnight. Oh, and Google beware.
If you were able to select a movie or TV personality to replace Steve Ballmer as CEO, who would it be and why?