In August Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he would be retiring within the next 12 months. He will retain the top job at Redmond until his successor is appointed. According to a new report, the company might appoint Ballmer’s successor within this year, or what’s left of it anyway. Microsoft is said to be going through the list of candidates it has created, and that it is narrowing its choices after conducting preliminary interviews, people with “knowledge of the discussions” tell Bloomberg.

This appointment is a very big deal for the company, the new Microsoft CEO will take charge after Ballmer who has lead the company for nearly 13 years. It was reported recently that Microsoft is looking for a “turnaround expert” as its next CEO, suggested individuals include Ford CEO Alan Mulally, who has apparently warmed up to the idea after initially expressing his disinterest. Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was rumored to be in fray as well, though it is believed that he won’t be getting the top job anytime soon. The report says that Microsoft’s announcement of a new CEO will depend on negotiations over crucial matters such as compensation, and if the candidate comes from another company, their departure from their current place of employment. Microsoft has only ever had two CEOs, the first being co-founder Bill Gates. Whoever gets the job will have tough shoes to fill and will have the responsibility to navigate Microsoft as it looks to bolster its position as a premier devices and services company.

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