Business

8 unlikely female replacements for Steve Ballmer

Image Credit: Jolie O'Dell / VentureBeat

Every other tech blog is pegging a lineup of old white dudes as Microsoft’s new CEO.

But we’re indulging in a little wishful thinking (it is Friday, after all) by imagining a Microsoft with an unconventional woman at the helm.

Here’s our fantasy list of ladies who lead:

Padmasree Warrior

Padmasree Warrior

With a name like that, she’s got to be good. She’s got plenty of leadership experience at big-time tech companies like Cisco and Motorola, and she’s got a technical background that would resonate beautifully with all the developers Microsoft is courting right now.

Charlene Begley

Charlene Begley

Speaking of older companies that still manage to innovate, how about that GE? Begley led GE’s Enterprise Solutions division as CEO and was the chief information officer for all of GE. What makes her perfect for Microsoft is her versatility; she’s worked in a smattering of GE divisions from plastics to finance. She stepped down from her jobs to take a medical leave of absence earlier this year and plans to return to a new role at GE, so a new job at Microsoft is extremely unlikely. But her career is stunning. She was one of the youngest GE execs of all time and its first female to head up a major business unit there.

Marissa Mayer Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

A few folks out there are wiggling eyebrows in Yahoo’s direction, but we think a Microsoft move is unlikely for Mayer. She’s just now planting her boots at Yahoo, and her vision is only starting to take effect. Look at her track record, and you’ll see she’s got staying power. We think she’ll stay at Yahoo for at least a few more years. We’d love to be wrong this time, though.

Meg Whitman Addresses Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Carol Bartz

That would just be hilarious. The “swearing is caring” CEO would probably run Microsoft into the ground, though, and we don’t want to see that just yet. We’re just getting used to the new Kinect dance game.

Sheryl Sandberg is the business brains behind Facebook. She's the company's COO and its newest board member. Sheryl Sandberg is the business brains behind Facebook. She’s the company’s chief operating officer and its newest board member.

Sheryl Sandberg

Another Facebooker makes the grade! Sandberg has more experience than Ms. Randi Z. when it comes to corporate management and executive stuff. Plus, her poise and leadership make her a wonderful fit for an enterprise company with a cornucopia of products and divisions.

Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns

Currently serving as Xerox’s CEO, Burns has what it takes to keep a company like Microsoft moving forward. Check out this quote: “We all need to be more impatient with the status quo. I think that we all need to change the emphasis of our thinking from why we create jobs to how to do it, from why we compete to how we compete, from why hunger, poverty and injustice exists to how they can be eliminated.”

ada-lovelace

Ada Lovelace

Talk about street cred. This historical figure was a mathematician and wrote the first computer algorithm. In 1842. Well-educated and obsessed with science, she managed to blaze trails in what was still very much a man’s world. That leads us to believe that she possessed not only research and writing prowess but leadership qualities, as well.

Randi Zuckerberg

Randi Zuckerberg

And now for the real wild card. This lady’s busy running her own media company, but she’d be a fresh face with a radically different background in product creation and corporate philosophy. And all that is a much better fit for the “new Microsoft” of mobile integration and beautiful design. Yes, she’s young and inexperienced in certain matters of executive leadership, but wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to see a younger (!) woman (!!!) in charge of a tech company for once? If Zuck can do it, Randi can, too.


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