Intel COO Krzanich to Succeed Otellini as CEO

New Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

New Intel CEO Brian Krzanich

For only the sixth time in its 45-year history, Intel Corp. has a new CEO.

The Santa Clara, Calif., technology giant on Thursday announced that insider Brian Krzanich, 52, will succeed Paul Otellini, who announced plans to retire late last year after 40 years with the company, the last eight years as Intel’s chief executive.

Krzanich, who joined Intel right out of college in 1982 and has served as Intel’s COO for the past 16 months, will assume the new role at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on May 16, according to company officials.

“After a thorough and deliberate selection process, 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 Intel board chairman Andy Bryant in a statement.

“Brian is a strong leader with a passion for technology and deep understanding of the business,” said Bryant. “His track record of execution and strategic leadership, combined with his open-minded approach to problem solving has earned him the respect of employees, customers and partners worldwide. He has the right combination of knowledge, depth and experience to lead the company during this period of rapid technology and industry change.”

As chief operating officer, Krzanich led an organization of more than 50,000 employees spanning Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group, Intel Custom Foundry, NAND Solutions group, human resources, IT and the chip giant’s strategy in China, according to officials.

“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to lead Intel,” said Krzanich. “We have amazing assets, tremendous talent, and an unmatched legacy of innovation and execution. I look forward to working with our leadership team and employees worldwide to continue our proud legacy, while moving even faster into ultra-mobility, to lead Intel into the next era.”

Krzanich’s ascension to one of the most powerful positions in the industry comes at a challenging time for Intel, which is in the midst of a disruptive evolution from innovator and market dominator to a company now forced to scrap and claw with more nimble rivals in the highly mobile, post-PC world.

In the midst of that sea change, crystallized in reports of the worst period of PC sales ever recorded, according to IDC, Intel suffered a 25-percent drop in its Q1 profits. Hardest hit were Intel’s PC Client Group, which accounts for some 65 percent of the vendor’s revenues. PC’s slid 6.6 percent for the quarter and 6 percent year over year, coming in at a soft $8 billion for Q1.

“Constant change and reinvention creates plenty of room for both opportunity and skepticism,” Otellini, 62, told analysts during his final earning call as CEO last month. “Even as I prepare to pass the baton to a new generation of leadership, I know Intel’s story is nowhere near completely written.”

With Intel’s top executive spot settled, the technology industry’s eyes now turn to another lame duck chief executive hoping for an orderly transition of power. Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers said in September that he would likely step down in the next two to four years. That has triggered much speculation about a possible successor.