Intel named Brian Krzanich CEO to replace Paul Otellini. Krzanich had been chief operating officer.
The move isn't entirely unexpected. Krzanich's previous roles at Intel revolved around manufacturing, foundry operations, China, and even human resources. Otellini's last statements about Intel, during the company's first quarter results, indicated that the chip giant will continue to focus on manufacturing as well as innovation.
Krzanich becomes Intel's sixth CEO and will take over on May 16. Renee James, who most recently led Intel's push into software, will become president of Intel and form a two-person executive office.
Indeed, the naming of two insiders to lead Intel will likely minimize disruption. Last week, Macquarie analyst Shawn Webster noted that Krzanich was the likely pick:
Our belief is the company, to reduce risk of employee distraction and resulting execution problems, should make the decision in May and we still believe the leading internal candidate is the COO.
The big question is whether Krzanich will have the know-how to make Intel a mobile player.
In a statement, Krzanich said:
We have amazing assets, tremendous talent, and an unmatched legacy of innovation and execution. I look forward to working with our leadership team and employees worldwide to continue our proud legacy, while moving even faster into ultra-mobility, to lead Intel into the next era.
Krzanich's background is manufacturing heavy. Prior to becoming COO, Krzanich had the following roles:
- Responsible for Fab/Sort Manufacturing from 2007-2011 and Assembly and Test from 2003 to 2007.
- From 2001 to 2003, he was responsible for the implementation of the 0.13-micron logic process technology across Intel's global factory network.
- From 1997 to 2001, Krzanich served as the Fab 17 plant manager, where he oversaw the integration of Digital Equipment Corporation's semiconductor manufacturing operations into Intel's manufacturing network.
- Krzanich also held plant and manufacturing manager roles at multiple Intel factories.
The Krzanich choice may indicate that Intel is going to double down on its manufacturing for partners. Intel said in February that it will make chips for Altera, which has only used TSMC for its manufacturing since the 1990s. These foundry wins are likely to be a warm up act for Intel to chase Apple's business.
Wells Fargo analyst David Wong said in a research note:
We think Intel is positioning itself well to warrant serious consideration by Apple as a potential foundry provider in the future. We think Intel has the ability to offer more advanced technology with less schedule risk than TSMC to selected foundry customers like Apple.