Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Computer Sciences CEO Mike Lawrie should be short-listed to replace Steve Ballmer as the CEO of Microsoft.
That is the view of at least three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft interviewed by Reuters.
They want a turnaround expert to succeed Steve Ballmer and have called the technology giant's board to consider Mulally and Lawrie.
The special committee of the board has been consulting with shareholders as part of its replacement search.
The committee told one such meeting that it started with a list of about 40 people, including internal and external candidates, and has been narrowing it down.
It was also at one of these meetings where Mulally and Lawrie's names popped up. They both have histories of successfully turning around companies, although the Ford CEO is more widely known thanks to his dramatic reversal of the auto giant.
Perhaps fortunately, Mulally told Reuters that he was absolutely focused on serving Ford, so he might not be interested.
Lawrie fixed UK-based Misys, a financial software company, before joining Computer Sciences in 2012.
Stephen Elop, who ran Microsoft's business software division before jumping ship in 2010, will now be assimilated back to Microsoft after his company was bought by Ballmer. He is in one of the strongest positions to succeed the shy and retiring chair throwing leader.
Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates, who is still the company's largest shareholder with a 4.8 percent stake and is on the four-member special committee, will likely have a veto on the new CEO choice.