The virtual ink was barely dry on the press release that announced Intel Corp. president and CEO Paul Otellini's plans to retire in May 2013, when a bevy of news stories popped up speculating about who his successor might be.
As surprising as the news was that Otellini was retiring early (he's 62 and could have stayed on another three years), there may be another surprise awaiting Intel shareholders. Two of the most commonly mentioned candidates to replace Otellini are women: Renée James, head of Intel's software business, and Diane Bryant, head of its datacenter and server business.
While still unlikely, the odds that a woman could be named CEO at Intel are much higher now than just a few years ago. This year's Fortune 500
listed 18 companies led by female CEOs, a record number and up from 12 in 2011. In the tech industry—where women are seriously under-represented—the last three years have seen females rise to the top spots at several major technology companies.
Ursula Burns was named CEO of
Xerox Corp. in 2009 and became chairman in 2010. Although not new to the chief executive position, former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman became president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. in September 2011. At the beginning of 2012, Virginia M. "Ginni" Rometty was appointed president and CEO of IBM Corp. Just recently, on Oct. 1, she added the title of chairman of the board. Then there's Marissa Mayer, who jumped ship from Google and was named CEO and president of Yahoo Inc. in July 2012.
That's an impressive list, but notice that none are semiconductor companies. The chip business has always seemed even more male-dominated than other parts of the tech industry. I don't recall many female executives or even chip designers at semiconductor companies, much less CEOs. Intel has had five CEOs in its 44-year history, and all of them have been men.
@EREBUS11/13/2011 7:28 PM EST
I would not write the Intel obituary just yet. To parrot Mark Twain, "The death of the PC is highly exagerated." I know Apple would love to see the tablet dominate the world, but I have yet to see any applications that can replace either my desktop or my labtop for doing real work.
I have seen Intel jump back in the lead many times over the last forty years. I have yet to see anyone else come close to their level of quality and production.
hey ya all, here is link to my original post, exactly 1 year ago.
what a brilliant and unique prediction...
I think they should just pick the best CEO for the job. I don't see what being a woman or a man has to do with it frankly, and putting a woman in the position of CEO to show that they are progressive would be super lame. Let's stop making this about gender, and start making it about talent for the actual job. Renee James just doesn't cut it.
There is no reason that a competent woman could not be the next Intel CEO. It depends upon the definition of competent and the vision the board holds for the future of Intel. Until they decide what they want to be, they will have difficulty in getting the right person for the job.
One of these days the gender of a prospective Intel CEO (or the race of a president) won't be news. It would be nice if we could have this very same article, but rather than discussing which candidates are male or female, only discuss the major accomplishments the people have in their records.
Unfortunately, we as a society aren't there yet. Using Carly Fiorina or, any one person, as justification for perpetuating the discriminatory and condescending attitudes should not be considered a viable counter argument to qualifications-based hiring. As DataMuncher indicated, the litany of men who have been bad choices goes on and on. And, that's not because men are inherently bad choices either. It just means that hiring any sort of a human involves the potential risk of making a bad choice or the potential reward of making a good choice.
Over the years, I have been trying to observe at what age the typical F500 CEO retires. 62 is right about average.
He's filthy stinking rich. Why wouldn't he want to step down from such a demanding job, spend more time with the grand-kids, and "earn" a few million a year by sitting on a few corporate boards?
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