Renee James, a 28-year Intel veteran and the chip maker's president since May 2013, is leaving the company to pursue CEO possibilities at other companies.
Intel announced James' upcoming departure July 2 as part of a larger shakeup that will see other executives either being promoted, retiring or leaving the company. James will remain with Intel until January to help with the transition.
James became Intel's president at the same time Brian Krzanich took over as CEO when Paul Otellini retired. Krzanich and James worked together to develop the strategy Intel has put in place over the past two years, including expanding the company's reach in the data center and pursuing other markets like mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of things (IoT).
In a letter to employees, James lauded the company for its technology and innovation. She also said that being able to lead her own company is an important step for her.
"When Brian and I were appointed to our current roles, I knew then that being the leader of a company was something that I desired as part of my own leadership journey," she wrote. "Now is the right time for me to take that next step."
If James wanted to be a CEO, she was going to have to go somewhere else, Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, told eWEEK.
"It was a career move," Kay said, noting that it didn't seem as though she was getting pushed out. James wasn't going to "get the nod as CEO with Brian there, and if she wanted to become a CEO, she was going to have to go somewhere else."
He also said she may have been frustrated in her role as president.
"It's the last step of something that's been underway for a while, in that Brian Krzanich has pretty much taken over," Kay said. "Even though they were pretty much two-in-a-box [in their management titles], her role seemed to have diminished while his seemed to have expanded."
In a statement, Krzanich thanked James for her work at Intel and said he and the board of directors "fully support her in this decision."
The announcement of James' resignation and the other leadership changes come at a difficult time for Intel. The company generated record revenue in 2014—driven in part by a slight rebound in the global PC space—but the first half of this year saw declines in global PC shipments accelerate, impacting Intel's bottom line. Intel officials earlier this year reduced their revenue forecast for the year, and last month Krzanich confirmed reports that the company was cutting hundreds of jobs.
The company is going strong in the data center and is growing its IoT business, but the mobile unit continues to lose money.
In addition, Intel—which is spending $300 million to increase diversity in its own workforce and another $125 million to help startups run by women and minorities—is losing its highest-ranking female executive. However, Aicha Evans, general manager of Intel's Communication and Devices Group, has been named to the chip maker's Management Committee. Intel also has other women in high management positions, such as Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the company's Data Center Group.
In other executive moves, Arvind Sodhani will retire in January as president of Intel Capital, the company's investment arm. The company is merging Intel Capital with mergers and acquisitions, with both being overseen by Wendell Brooks, president of mergers and acquisitions. In addition, Intel is integrating Intel Security—formerly the McAfee unit—into Intel operations, which will be led by General Manager Chris Young.
Josh Walden, general manager of the New Technology Group, will also oversee product and research teams working on new technologies, such as wearable devices, interactive computing systems and perceptual computing, according to company officials.
Intel executives Hermann Eul and Mike Bell, who led mobile and new technology businesses, will leave the company after a transition period.
Kay said the merging of businesses and thinning of the executive lineup could be another indication of Intel getting its expenses more in line with its adjusted revenue expectations.