Intel, after a lengthy search and months of speculation over whether the board of directors would look outside the company, has named Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich as the chip maker's next chief executive, taking over later this month when Paul Otellini steps down.
The 52-year-old Krzanich, who has been with Intel since 1982, will assume the CEO post May 16. At the same time, Renee James, who currently is executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, will become president of the company.
Otellini, who has spent four decades at Intel and the last eight as CEO, announced in November 2012 that he was retiring. This kicked off a search process that lasted longer than many analysts had expected and fueled speculation that Intel, which is aggressively pursuing growth markets to reduce its dependence on the contracting global PC market, might for the first time go outside the company to find a successor.
In March, it was reported that Intel directors had hired an executive search firm, Spencer Stuart and Associates, to assist with the search and that the organization was considering outside candidates. Among the names circulating were former Intel executive Pat Gelsinger, currently the CEO of virtualization software maker VMware, and ex-Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha. Some industry observers said someone like Jha would make sense, given his background in the mobile device space and Intel's aggressive push into the market for such devices as tablets and smartphones to compete with ARM and its chip partners.
However, Otellini said during a conference in December 2012 that he expected his successor would come from within Intel, as the company has always done. It would make more sense than bringing in someone from the outside who would need time to know and understand the company's culture and employees, he said.
"It's not up to me, but I think that's the most likely outcome," Otellini said. "I'm very comfortable with the internal candidates. … In this environment, why take the risk and take the time [of hiring an outside executive]? So my sense is that they will stay inside."
Krzanich was one of several Intel executives who were named as possible candidates to become Intel's sixth CEO. Others included Renee James as well as Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy. At one time, it was speculated that Intel was grooming Sean Maloney for the job, but the executive's career was temporarily put on hold due to a stroke in 2010. Maloney returned after a year to become chairman of Intel's China business until retiring last year.
In a statement May 2, Intel board Chairman Andy Bryant praised Krzanich's leadership and understanding of Intel and business.
"Brian is a strong leader with a passion for technology and deep understanding of the business," Bryant said. "His track record of execution and strategic leadership, combined with his open-minded approach to problem solving has earned him the respect of employees, customers and partners worldwide. He has the right combination of knowledge, depth and experience to lead the company during this period of rapid technology and industry change."