Intel CEO Paul Otellini announces resignation

Intel CEO Paul Otellini, 62, will step down after almost 40 years at the chip giant and the search is on for the company’s next leader.

Chairman Andy Bryant praised Otellini through the nose and gave him credit for steering Intel through “challenging times and market transitions”. He said the board is “grateful for his innumerable contributions to the company and his distinguished tenure as CEO over the last eight years”.

There will be a six month transition period before Otellini’s successor comes on board. Intel says that it will be looking at both internal and external candidates.

The company boasted that Otellini helped Intel grow record revenue between 2005 to the end of 2011, although its latest results will have not pleased the board. Intel noted Otellini helped transform operations and company cost structure for long term growth, as well as spearheading technologies such as High-K/Metal gate and 3-D Tri-gate transistors.

Intel gave Otellini the nod for sticking the first Intel processors inside smartphones and tablets, ever, although the jury is out on that one. The company also highlighted his influence on growing cloud based computing networks based on Intel.

While Otellini was on board he also apparently helped reinvent the PC with the company’s Ultrabook, although it did not mention the flagship CeBit announcement, which reaffirmed the conference’s relevancy – the Ultrabag.

Along with Otellini’s resignation, Intel also appointed Stacy Smith, Brian Krzanich and Renee James to executive vice president.

There have previously been murmurs that Krzanich and Smith would be good candidates for CEO. Earlier this year, Intel made Brian Krzanich Chief Operating Officer and it is thought he is a favourite for the job.

Although Otellini had just three years before being retired thanks to the company’s Logan’s Run policy – that CEOs must not go on working past 65 or a sandman will be after them – talk of a replacement had been on the cards for some time now.

It is a difficult period for Intel, as it struggles to beat British chip IP company ARM on power, and promote x86 as relevant for consumer devices in a smotheringly vast ocean of tablets and smartphones. Still, it is ploughing forward in a world where mobile chip companies such as Qualcomm seem to be the increasingly dominant players.