Microsoft Could Face 'Employee Exodus Of Biblical Proportions' If Turner Is Named CEO


Turner is one of three internal employees on Microsoft's short list of CEO candidates, Bloomberg reported Friday. The others are Satya Nadella, head of the Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group, and Tony Bates, who leads the Business Development and Evangelism Group.

Turner is certainly qualified for the job. He knows more about the vast scope of Microsoft's business than anyone besides Ballmer, overseeing worldwide sales, services, support and channel partners, software licensing and retail stores.

Turner has also been Microsoft's highest paid executive for the past three straight years, pulling in $10.7 million in fiscal 2012.

When it comes to the channel, however, there are some partners that don't believe Turner always has their best interests at heart.

David Powell, vice president of TekLinks, a Birmingham, Ala.-based Microsoft partner, said Turner's deep knowledge of Microsoft's business is counteracted by his approach to the channel.

"Kevin has no direct experience with partners and has done very little during his tenure to make inroads into the partner community," Powell said in an email. "As a partner, promoting Turner would not give me much confidence that the company would embrace the channel and the partner community."

Elop is also said to be on the short list of CEO candidates, but his track record as Nokia CEO doesn't inspire much confidence that he'll be able to help Microsoft, Jeff Middleton, a Microsoft MVP (Most Valued Professional) partner based in Metairie, La., said in an email.

"His inability to rescue Nokia other than sell it back to Microsoft isn't a reusable strategy this time," Middleton said of Elop. "I'm not sure that Wall Street is going to have faith in his ability to serve Wall Street, and partners are not going to be thrilled with the downsizing Nokia has gone through as a weak outcome of his leadership there."

PUBLISHED NOV. 15, 2013