NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Let me get this straight.Microsoft's ( MSFT) CEO candidates consist of the head of a car company, the leader of a failed mobile communications firm and a handful of internal retreads. And whoever gets the gig might, as his (notice how there are no "hers" in the mix) first order of business, sell the Xbox franchise, according to one analyst. You might know what I think about Wall Street analysts -- not much -- but let's humor one another with this. The sell Xbox proposition comes down to two all-too-typical fragments of rationale:
- The forthcoming Xbox One sells at a premium to the recently launched, and seemingly smash success, Sony (SNE) Playstation 4.
- There's a pretty good chance the Xbox business, as a whole, doesn't make Microsoft much money. In fact, the company might be losing money on it so lets leap to the textbook conclusion to shed it.
- Completely killing off the Windows-based PC industry;
- Ending any remaining whiff of Microsoft's mobile aspirations; and
- Trashing Microsoft's software business with consumers as well as enterprise customers.
Most boards invest heavily in executive assessments, exposing chief-executive candidates to C-suite responsibilities and checking their P&L performance -- while simultaneously scanning outside prospects. Yet less attention is given to one of the most important determining factors of all: Whether directors who have actually served as CEOs are driving the process. It takes one, in our view, to really know one. If the succession and search are not driven by those who have already run another firm, the company is, in our experience, less likely to end up with a CEO who can run this one.I hope this isn't what Harvard is teaching "kids" coming up the ranks in the school's business and finance programs. This line of thinking does little more than preserve the status quo. Members of good old boy CEO networks will, more than likely, support preservation of the status quo at Microsoft. They'll expect their new hire to come in and be a "good" manager -- cut expenses, reorganize business units, sell a few things, buy back more shares, etc. Just the opposite of what a company in desperate need of a true visionary so urgently requires. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.