Intel decided to play it safe with its choice of a new CEO, picking someone who has been at the company for more than 30 years. The world’s largest chipmaker announced today that COO Brian Krzanich will be its next leader. He is replacing Paul Otellini, who announced he was stepping down last year.
For the first time in the company’s history, Intel seriously looked at outside candidates like former Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha. The company hired recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to help Intel with its CEO search.
There was a sense that Intel may need new blood after it saw sales decline for the first time in 12 years in 2012. Intel is the dominant player when it comes to PCs, but sales of computers are falling. At the same time, Intel has failed to make major inroads in the mobile market, which is quickly growing.
But there was some resistance to an outside CEO choice. Otellini in December indicated that he wanted his replacement to come from within Intel. In the end, the company decided to stick with tradition and pick a CEO from the inside, as it has done throughout its history.
Krzanich has been COO since 2012. He joined Intel in 1982. The choice of Krzanich may signal that Intel will largely stick with its current strategy, but management is aware that the company is under pressure. And Intel has some promising smartphone chip technology that should help it gain market share. Hopefully, Krzanich can use his long tenure at Intel to mobilize his staff to shake things up at the company.
Investors had been anxiously awaiting a new CEO, especially because this marked the first time that Intel announced a CEO was stepping down without having a successor already in place. But after Intel shares initially went up on the news, the stock is down slightly this morning.