Mendoza School of Business

Elop rises, Larson-Green falls in Microsoft CEO handicapping

Published: September 3, 2013 / Author: Mark Hachman

By any measure, Stephen Elop’s star just rose overnight.

The former head of Microsoft’s Business Division was tapped to lead an expanded devices business at Microsoft, formed by absorbing more than 32,000 Nokia employees in a $7 billion dollar deal announced late on Monday.

Many now consider him to be the front-runner in a race between several internal and external candidates to succeed Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, who said recently that he would step down in a year’s time. But Elop’s ascension has probably lowered the fortunes of Julie Larson-Green, who was just named executive vice president of Microsoft’s Devices and Studios division—and who will soon report to Elop.


”Since Elop will be reporting to Ballmer directly, and apparently EVP Julie Larson-Green will be reporting to Elop after the acquisition is completed, it feels like Elop is being positioned for an eventual CEO move,” Brian Proffitt, an adjunct instructor at the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, said in an email. “But after Elop came on board Nokia as CEO in 2008, that company went to heck in a handbasket. The question is, was Nokia always doomed to fail and Elop implemented the best soft landing that he could, or was it his involvement that sent Nokia from a $40 billion market cap to a $15 billion figure in just under three years? The answer to that should determine his chances of being picked as CEO.”

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