SAN JOSE, Calif. – For 45 years, Intel Corp.’s succession plan has been so orderly it was boring. With this week’s unexpected announcement that Paul Otellini will step down in May as CEO, the field to replace Otellin is wide open with a strong possibility of the first chief executive coming from outside the company.
Speculation about Intel’s next CEO cover the waterfront with the least predictable being the most likely. At this stage in its history, some think Intel needs its Lou Gerstner, a savvy star-CEO from outside its industry who can shake up the chip maker’s model and get ahead of a rapidly changing industry.
It’s anyone’s guess who can transform the x86 giant the way R.J. Reynolds’ exec Gerstner re-made the struggling IBM into a modern day services giant. But there’s a broadly felt sense that change is needed.
Intel’s core PC business is slowing. The Wintel duopoly that dominated it has fractured. Microsoft embraced ARM in Windows 8 and Windows Phone; Intel rides Linux and Android in servers and smartphones.
More importantly, the old Intel formula of following Moore’s Law looks like the wrong prescription for the next era. Increasingly, systems need greater energy efficiency, not raw horsepower. And new semiconductor nodes are coming more slowly and offering less bang for the buck in process technology investment.
“Intel still sees its advanced processes as key to its continuing success,” said Will Strauss, principal of Forward Concepts (Tempe, Ariz.). “It'll be interesting to see if Otellini’s successor is a physicist [like Gordon Moore], engineer [like Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs] or business manager [like Otellini]. I vote for an engineer with business experience.”
Otellini gets kudos for many accomplishments in his eight-year reign. His big shortfall has been failing to better position Intel in mobile markets that have supplanted PCs as the clients of choice. Intel’s latest Atom chips have a handful of design wins in smartphones and tablets, but they represent a few drops in a barrel full of ARM-based designs.
In the short term, Intel’s Ultrabook—geared to stem the rising tablet tide—has been a disappointment. Analysts said they will probably not reach even half of Intel’s target of becoming 40 percent of client shipments in the last quarter of the year.
Otellini, 62, was expected to serve until Intel’s mandatory retirement age of 65. The announcement that he will retire in May comes a year ahead of expectations, a sign of concern about the company’s future.
Paul Otellini's decision to retire at age 62 was unexpected.
So what’s next will probably be something and someone new and unexpected to chart a fresh course. Intel must re-think its mobile strategy. It probably will rethink its manufacturing strategy as well, including how it approaches the foundry opportunity.
Large and successful companies usually get frozen into old ways of doing things, too many mid level managers who have a stake in continuing the old way. And then comes the technology shift, followed by confusion, wild swings, disintegration,...
IBM survived because it had the intellectual capital to shift to software services.
Intel is too deep into transistors and fabs, lazy designers who use far too many transistors because they know the Fabs can still make them Need to replace Salesman Otellini with someone who has strong leadership in system design. I recommend Prof. Hennessy ( who originated RISC designs, wrote the standard textbook for Architecture and founded MIPS ) and now is the President of Stanford. He can bind together both SoCs for Mobiles and CPUs for Servers with a uniform microcode and scalable architecture. Also being an academic Prof. Hennessy would be a breath of fresh air for the rather Stalinist organization at Intel ( instituted ironically by Andy Grove who himself fled Hungary to escape Stalinism ) to deliver the x86 tick - tock !
Second choice : make Warren East of ARM an offer he can't refuse !
any smart ppl wont' want to get into the deep faction politics of intel. he ll get burned like a piece of toliet paper.
in the end some idiot might pick up the mess and can't work it out. it's the same story as kodak, nokia...
the best solution is just let it disappear.
it's much easier to build some thing ground up rather than transform this huge monster.
intel 's trouble is too deep.
I don't see anyone (smart one) want to pick this huge pile of mess.
the best future of intel might be to let it fall apart.
it will evolve into a big piece of foundry, a piece of fabless processor, a piece of nand...
anyone want to hire me as consultant can msg me... (predicted intel's fate precisely last year)
Intel must find a way to dominate the mobile market, utilizing advanced silicon technology is an advantage but also and perhaps far more important a new mind set. Intel's new CEO first task: Get the mobile market!
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