When CEOs at Freescale and Intel suddenly announced retirement plans this year without naming successors, it struck us as odd. The moves were explained as "a necessary step" by companies that said they were also looking at external candidates.
Once a company conducting a CEO search starts calling external candidates, those people are under no obligation to keep the overture confidential. Fortunately, Freescale's CEO transition moved fairly smoothly as the company tapped ex-TI executive Gregg Lowe to replace Rich Beyer, Freescale’s former chairman and CEO.
But the succession drama at Intel – which had $54 billion revenue in 2011 – is more intriguing. Why would CEO Paul Otellini announce his retirement six months in advance?
Otellini has reportedly expressed his satisfaction with Intel’s internal candidates. He argued that picking an insider would be the smart path for Intel given the challenges the chip giant faces. But he added, “It’s not up to me, but I think that’s the most likely outcome.”
What happened to grooming the next CEO, which at Intel was an important part of the top job? Are the days of seamless leadership transitions over at Intel? The lack of a clear succession plan at Intel undoubtedly troubles the chip maker’s founders as well as company watchers.
Paul Otellini is leaving his CEO post at Intel. Who replaces him?