Microsoft Corp, world's largest software company, is likely to appoint its India born cloud-computing head, Satya Nadella, as its next chief executive officer, according to reports in the US media on Thursday.
The reports also indicated, citing unidentified company sources, that Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates may also be replaced.
Nadella, 46, was among three internal candidates said to have been in the running for last several weeks.
The other two were strategy head Tony Bates, former CEO of Skype, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2011; and Stephen Elop, former head of Nokia acquired by the giant in 2013. But the reports did not say the search was conclusively over.
The story broke Thursday afternoon with a report in Recode, a tech news website, which said Nadella is considered to be the "likeliest internal candidate to prevail".
An announcement was expected next week, the website said.
Bloomberg news service reported shortly after that Nadella had "emerged as one of the stronger candidates to replace" the departing CEO Steve Ballmer.
But, it added citing sources, "The plans aren’t finished."
The wire service also said the man tipped to replace Gates was lead independent director of the Microsoft board John Thompson, who also heads the four-member CEO search committee.
The hunt was launched last August after Ballmer announced that he will step down in 12 months.
The committee started with 100 named, among them were outsiders such as Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Qualcomm Inc CEO Steve Mollenkopf and Ericsson AB CEO Hans Vestberg. But they all dropped out. And the rest didn’t make it.
Nadella was born in Hyderabad and studied electrical engineering at the Manipal Institute of Technology and computer science and business administration in the US.
His tech career started at internet software pioneer Sun Microsystems. He joined Microsoft in 1992 starting in the Windows Developer Relations group and quickly climbed the corporate ladder with leading roles in the Office and Bing search-engine teams.
He was also a key member of several advanced technology incubation efforts at Microsoft, including interactive television and digital rights management.