Intel's search for leadership

The world's largest chip maker is looking for a new CEO...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Sean Maloney (far right) with Paul Otellini, CEO, left, and Craig Barrett former CEO at Intel, in 2006.

Intel will announce a new CEO later this year as Paul Otellini retires in May but who that person will be is not yet known. It would likely have been Sean Maloney, who retires this month, if it were not for a massive stroke in 2010.

The British executive spent 30 years at Intel, working closely with CEO Andrew Grove as his technical assistant, and then heading several business groups. Mr Maloney has a stellar reputation at Intel as being able to tackle some of the toughest problems around.

He also has a great reputation within Silicon Valley, and has been approached many times to lead other tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard.

Mr Otellini recently said that the next CEO will come from within Intel rather than from outside despite Intel's board saying that it would also consider outside candidates. Mr Otellini believes that an insider is needed to understand Intel's processes and culture, a task that could take "two years."

Mr Maloney's deep knowledge of nearly all aspects of Intel's business, plus his position as TA to the CEO - a key path that Mr Otellini followed — would have made him the ideal replacement.

Who will Intel choose? It's unusual for Intel not to have its succession plans laid out clearly.

Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64, points to two internal candidates:

Brian Krzanich, COO and head of worldwide manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, CFO and director of corporate strategy occupy the pole positions. Both saw “executive vice president” added to their titles in the same press release that announced Otellini’s planned retirement.

Krzanich oversees Intel’s vast network of multi-billion dollar fabs, and accounts for the vast majority of Intel’s capital expenditures. Moreover, he was named Chief Operating Officer early this year...

Smith, who labored for years under Andy Bryant’s considerable shadow, was named CFO in 2007 and has both a wide and deep understanding of how Intel functions.

While we wait for the decision by Intel's board of directors, here is an interview with Sean Maloney, retiring Chairman of Intel China, looking back at his remarkable career.


I joined Intel because of the microprocessor. I believed, like many people, that the microprocessor was going to change the world. But that wasn’t really the case in 1982. Mainframes were “it.”

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