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Nor has Intel done anything besides courting Bradley to indicate that a leadership overhaul is coming. “Intel is not letting anyone go; it’s not a big shakeup or anything,” Swank said. “They’re adding to their resources. It’s a smart move for Intel. You wonder how HP feels about Intel trying to pick off its executives though.”
Jon Layish, president of Red Barn Technology Group in Binghamton, N.Y., also said courting executives from a different company might not help their relationship, but it is likely to help Intel. “It can be taken as a bit of bad manners,” he said. “But as far as one having significantly more insight then another, I can’t imagine someone from HP has a tremendous amount of insight over Intel. I don’t know if they have spoken to other executives from other companies, but it’s not uncommon to bring in other kinds of talent. That’s why grad schools often don’t accept their own undergraduates. Bringing in people from outside is healthy.”
Despite the possibility that even unconfirmed reports of Intel pursuing HP’s executives can influence industry and investor perception, a system builder who requested anonymity told CRN it won’t affect the two companies’ long-standing relationship. “HP is a lot more diversified than Intel,” the system builder said. “Intel has mostly been a hardware manufacturing company, they are not known for providing services or offering total solutions. Bringing in a new face will lead Intel toward more diversification and new markets to help grow the company. I don’t think it would hurt their relationship with HP.”
On the other hand, for a company that is known for promoting within to suddenly turn to someone from outside could cause some tension, according to Swank. “If their looking outside for a successor to Otellini, that’s going to ruffle some feathers, “he said. “At that level, I’m sure there’s a pecking order for whose next in line. If it’s out that people outside the company are being considered, then people in the company who believe themselves or their colleagues to be next in line all of a sudden start asking questions like ‘why am I not next in line.’ But that’s business. We all have to deal with those issues.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, an Intel spokeswoman declined to comment about Tom Bradley and said it is premature to discuss Otellini’s succession, given his age. However, the report goes on to note that Intel usually appoints a chief operating officer in advance in order to eventually succeed the CEO, as was the case with Otellini himself between January 2002 and May 2005.