It’s been almost six months since Paul Otellini announced his plans for retirement and today Intel has finally appointed someone else to take over the chief executive role. As expected, Otellini’s successor will come from within the company, as Brian Krzanich, currently the chipmaker's chief operating officer has been named for job starting May 16.
Krzanich has been at Intel for 31 years, taking on various roles during this period, including as a process engineer, a manufacturing manager, a plant manager and the head of assembly testing. He was most recently promoted to an executive vice president post in November, when Otellini announced his pending retirement.
Krzanich’s appointment as chief executive -- the sixth in the company’s 45-year history -- comes as a turning point for the company looms. Intel has been trying to break into the fast growing smartphone and tablet segment but so far it hasn’t been able to make any significant inroads.The company is putting a lot of effort behind its ultra low-power Medfield line of x86 chips but it faces an uphill battle against the established ARM architecture and its army of licensees.
Conversely, the latter are also threatening to invade Intel’s turf by jumping into the profitable server market.
The company is confident Krzanich will be the right person to steer the company in a new direction. "The board of directors is delighted that Krzanich will lead Intel as we define and invent the next generation of technology that will shape the future of computing," said Andy Bryant, chairman of Intel, in a prepared statement.
His manufacturing-heavy background may also be an indication of Intel pushing forward with a recent strategic shift that has the company filling idle production lines with chips for third-parties, directly competing with the likes of TSMC and GlobalFoundries. The company began making field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chips for Achronix back in 2010, and closed a similar manufacturing deal with Altera this year, while rumors about the company chasing Apple to produce their ARM-based SoCs have been flying around for some time.
In addition to filling the CEO role, Renée James, who has been leading Intel’s software division, has been elected president by the board of directors and will take on her new role on May 16th as well.