Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently told those in attendance at a Sanford C. Bernstein conference that his successor will likely come from within the company. If you weren't already aware, chipzilla announced last month that the executive would be retiring next year after replacing Craig Barrett as CEO in May 2005.

The 62-year-old executive, just three years shy of Intel's mandatory retirement age, said the decision to select a new chief wasn't up to him but he believes Intel's next leader will be selected from candidates already in the company. He said he was very comfortable with those that could potentially take over the reins and he doesn't expect the company's strategy to change once he leaves.

"I think the board is very comfortable with the strategy and assuming we stay inside, I think the management team is as well," Otellini said.

He further noted that it would take an outsider at least two years to be able to understand how Intel works no matter how talented they were. Given today's market and the technology environment in general, he questioned why Intel would take such a risk by hiring an outsider.

It's worth pointing out that Intel has never selected an outsider to lead the company in their 44 year history. Having said that, three names immediately jump out as potential candidates to replace him. Chief operating officer Brian Krzanich, chief financial officer Stacy Smith and software head Renee James were all promoted to executive vice president positions when Intel announced Otellini's planned departure.

Share value in Intel shot up 1.4 percent following the CEO's admission.