Speculation over Microsoft’s next CEO has intensified in recent weeks, but Ford’s Alan Mulally has finally confirmed he will not be leaving the automotive company in favor of Microsoft. In an interview the Associated Press today, Mulally says he wants to put the rumors to rest. "I would like to end the Microsoft speculation because I have no other plans to do anything other than serve Ford," Mulally says. He also eased concerns from Ford investors that he might be departing for Microsoft, noting that “you don’t have to worry about me leaving.”

Mulally has sidestepped the Microsoft rumors previously, and Ford has always insisted he was staying, but today’s clear statement leaves him out of the running for Microsoft’s top job. Other candidates are believed to be Microsoft’s cloud boss Satya Nadella, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and Microsoft’s head of strategy Tony Bates. While many expected Microsoft to name its new CEO by the end of 2013, the search has extended as the company continues to seek the perfect candidate to replace Steve Ballmer. Microsoft has identified over 100 possible candidates and focused on 20 individuals. The software maker is expected to name its Ballmer successor in the “early part of 2014.”