Intel president Renee James steps down to take external CEO role

James is Intel's highest ranking female executive. She will stay with Intel until January to help with the transition.

Intel's highest ranking female executive Renee James is leaving the company.

James has served as president of Intel since 2013, however she said she plans to end her 28-year run with the chipmaker to pursue a CEO role with another company.

Renee James

"When Brian and I were appointed to our current roles, I knew then that being the leader of a company was something that I desired as part of my own leadership journey," James wrote in a memo to Intel employees. "Now is the right time for me to take that next step."

James said she plans to stay at Intel until January to help with the executive transition. No successor has been named.

In addition to James, Intel announced a few other leadership changes Thursday. Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani will retire in January after a 35-year career with the company. Wendell Brooks, president of mergers and acquisitions, will take an expanded role to also become president of Intel Capital. Executives Mike Bell and Hermann Eul will also be leaving the company.

Intel's executive shakeups come at a critical time for the chipmaker, with a slowdown in the PC business prompting the company to focus on growth around its data center and IoT portfolios.

"We are aligning our leadership structure to continue to become more efficient in order to deliver the benefits of our strategy even faster than before," chief executive Brian Krzanich said in a statement Thursday.

Early in June, Intel confirmed plans to acquire Altera for $16.7 billion. At the time, Intel said it planned to integrate Altera's field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips with its own Xeon processors, resulting in more flexible computing and server products.

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