Sean Maloney, a longtime executive with Intel who was involved in various key technologies for the giant chip maker, including the launch of Ultrabooks last year, will retire in January after three decades with the company.
Maloney at one time was considered a possible successor to current CEO Paul Otellini, but his career was temporarily put on hold in 2010 when he suffered a stroke and had to take a medical leave of absence. He returned to the company a year later, becoming the first chairman of Intel's business in China. He has lived in Beijing since July 2011.
Intel announced Maloney's plans to retire Sept. 19. He has been with the company since 1982, climbing the ranks and becoming executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group in 2009. Maloney co-managed the group with Dadi Perlmutter. The Intel Architecture Group includes the company's core server and client chip businesses.
His next stop was China, where he was put in charge of expanding Intel's presence in that country and other parts of Asia. Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said Maloney long before saw the potential for growth in that region.
"Sean is a well-known visionary for Intel and the computing industry," Otellini said in a statement. "In the '90s he identified the impact Asia would have as a technology market as well as an innovation hub for the industry, and last year he unveiled Intel's efforts to reinvent computing with Ultrabook devices."
Intel executives have been looking to expand the company's reach in the industry for several years, with a particular eye to the booming mobile device space-including smartphones and tablets, most of which are powered by low-power chips designed by ARM Holdings and sold by vendors like Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.
In May 2011 at the Computex show in Taiwan, Maloney unveiled Intel's Ultrabook initiative, with the goal of creating a new notebook that offers the productivity and other characteristics of traditional laptops while also offering features-including long battery life, instant-on and always-connected capabilities, and touch-screen support-found in tablets.
Intel executives view Ultrabooks not only as another path for gaining traction in the mobile device world, but also as a way to bolster the stagnant worldwide PC market. With the launch of the company's 22-nanometer Core Ivy Bridge chips and low-power Atom Z2460 Medfield platform, Intel executives expect more than 140 new Ultrabook designs to hit the market in the coming months, though there is still debate in the industry on the impact Ultrabooks will have.
Maloney also was part of other significant launches, including the Centrino mobile chip platform in 2003, when he was head of the Intel Communications Group. A year later, he became co-manager of the Intel Mobility Group.
In prepared remarks, the 56-year-old Maloney praised the employees and executives at Intel, including Otellini and former CEO Andy Grove, and touted the work he was involved with "on the most cutting-edge technology."
"I worked on three continents and saw the world as a representative of Intel. I saw firsthand the astonishing growth and potential of China and the Asian region," he said. "Intel will always be part of my life, and I feel privileged to have been one of the company's leaders."