Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), the world's largest software maker, rose to the highest price in one month following a report in the AllThingsD blog that Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally is a top candidate to replace Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft shares advanced to $33.75, the highest intraday price since Aug. 27, before trading at $33.28, up 1.6 percent, at 3:20 p.m. in New York. The stock has rallied 24 percent so far this year, roughly in line with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC).
AllThingsD yesterday reported, citing sources, that Mulally, a turnaround expert, was now in the lead of the race to become Microsoft's CEO. In August, Ballmer said he would retire from Microsoft within a year.
Mulally, who was hired by Ford in 2006, successfully led the U.S. second-largest automaker's turnaround and is credited with overhauling Ford's corporate culture. In November 2012, Ford said Mulally intended to stay at Ford through at least the end of 2014.
Ford's Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields told reporters today that Mulally remains "absolutely focused" on crafting the Dearborn, Michigan-based company.
Fields, a longtime Ford executive, is widely expected to succeed Mulally as CEO, Reuters reported. In December, he became the company's COO, a role that involves running Ford's weekly business plan review meetings, at which executives air issues.
Ford's shares slid 1.6 percent to $17.00, the lowest intraday price since Sept. 9, at 3:30 p.m. in New York. The shares have more than tripled over the past five years and is up 31 percent this year.