One of the few candidates with actual chief executive experience at a high level, Bates is seen as one of the favorites for Ballmer's job. The former Skype CEO joined Microsoft in 2011 and became president of the Skype division. Bates recently was promoted to the role of executive vice president of business development and evangelism. While a relative newcomer to Microsoft, he has a strong IT background. Before Skype, Bates served as senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business Group.