Rumors that Ford CEO Alan Mulally could replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft CEO are heating up again.

All Things D, citing sources close to the situation, reports Mulally has moved to the front of the list of candidates.

Mulally, 68, said earlier this month that he was not leaving Ford, the company he helped save from the brink of bankruptcy. But sources say Mulally has become more interested in the Microsoft job in recent weeks.

Mulally s contract is set to expire at the end of 2014, but the board of directors at Ford reportedly is willing to let him step down early. The company recently named Americas President Mark Fields as chief operating officer, grooming him to succeed Mulally.

Mulally was the former CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, the former resident of Kansas started in 1969 as a youg aerospace engineer out of college. By the 1990s he was heading up Boeing's 777 program that expanded Boeing's use of high tech systems and materials. The 777 was Boeing's first plane designed on a computer, the first Boeing jet to use fly by wire technology on board, involving more computers. The plane made extensive use of plastic and carbon composites in the tail. The new 787 would push those technology even more, another program that Mulally was deeply involved with.

But Mullaly may be best known for his ability to communicate. During development of the 777, Mulally helped break down institutional walls within Boeing. They called it Working Together.

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