Intel CEO to retire as chipmaker struggles with mobile

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:53pm EST
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By Noel Randewich and Liana B. Baker

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Intel Corp's Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini will retire sooner than expected and the top chipmaker said it may name an outsider for the position for the first time to steer a difficult transition toward mobile computing.

Intel, which has selected chief executives from within its own ranks throughout its 45-year history, said it would consider both internal and external candidates in a transition expected to last six months.

Otellini will retire in May at the age of 62, earlier than the company's mandatory retirement age for CEOs of 65. Intel's fifth chief executive, Otellini has worked at the company for nearly 40 years and became CEO in 2005.

Intel's board was surprised last week when Otellini announced he planned to retire and it tried to get Otellini to stay, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said.

Some Wall Street analysts said it might make sense for Intel to consider hiring an outsider to shake up its strategy as the computing world goes through its most significant shift since the advent of the Internet.

But internal candidates will have a leg up over potential outside contenders because of Intel's size, complexity and engineer-driven culture, Mulloy said.

"For any company of the size and complexity of Intel, an internal candidate would have a natural advantage," he said. However, Mulloy added: "Good corporate governance dictates today you should look inside and out."

Intel, whose processors are dominant in personal computers, has been slow to expand into the fast-growing mobile industry, where Apple Inc's iPads and iPhones and other popular mobile devices use competing technology from Britain's ARM Holdings Plc.   Continued...

Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, holds an ultrabook as he gives a keynote address during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in this January 10, 2012, file photo. Intel Corp. said on November 19, 2012, that Chief Executive Officer Paul Ottelini would retire in May, stepping down from the world's leading chipmaker at time when it is grappling with weak PC demand as the industry shifts towards mobile computing. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files