It’s been only a few hours passed since the announcement of Steve Ballmer’s retirement has been announced by the Microsoft, and rumors have already started to spread about the future CEO of Microsoft. The transition will be completed in the next 12 months, but certainly, not before the 2014. Not sure if the substitute will be chosen within the company or among outsiders.

The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee, which also includes Bill Gates, who will have the task of examining the curriculum of the candidates, together with the recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles International.

Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet has compiled a short list potential candidates, which includes both current and former Microsoft executives.

The list starts with: Kevin Turner (Chief Operating Officer) who is likely to fill the position vacated by Ballmer. He has seen a reduction in his responsibilities with the current internal reorganization.

Besides, the following three names might have good chances.

  • Tami Reller (Vice President of Marketing group) at Microsoft from 2001. She held various positions, including Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Windows division.
  • Tony Bates (VP of Business Development group), former CEO of Skype, is the candidate with the most expertise in both consumer and business.
  • Satya Nadella (VP of Cloud and Enterprise Group) has the best knowledge of “cross-unit”, have worked for Online Services division, the Business Solutions division and the Server division.

Among the outsiders are Steven Elop, Nokia’s current CEO and former president of the Microsoft Business Division, Steven Sinofsky, former president of the Windows division, Kevin Johnson, former CEO of Juniper Networks and former president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft.

Though Microsoft fans are dreaming of a return from the past, but there is no hope of seeing Bill Gates again at the helm of Redmond.