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“Typically, if you look at Intel’s executive history, all the CEOs have come from within,” said the system builder who requested anonymity. “Intel is looking for some fresh ideas to expand and grow their business from someone who can think outside of the box. If they’re constantly promoting people they may not be able to look outside the industry.”
Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, said it’s unlikely for a company that has not typically hired from outside to make an exception and bring someone in, ultimately, for its top position. “This is a bit unusual for Intel,” Kretzer said. “They had always adhered to that ‘two in a box’ relationship model. I’d be awfully surprised if they pulled from outside of the company for this position.”
Nevertheless, the system builder added, the tendency toward internal promotions has yielded good results for Intel to this point. “I would not say that it’s been a problem for Intel so far,” the system builder said. “Otellini has done a good job leading Intel and diversifying its business by, for example, buying a lot of ISVs in addition to hardware solutions.”
Layish agreed, touting Intel’s willingness to communicate necessary information to its customer base. “For a very large company, Intel is phenomenally in touch with customers and being receptive to what they have to say,” Layish said. “Being 'Chip-zilla' they can take a ‘buy our chips or don’t’ attitude, but they treat their customers very well.”
The system builder said Intel’s efforts at diversification include an upcoming major launch on the server side in Q4 of this year that may include Sandy Bridge-based server platforms. “I don’t think they would bring in an outsider in time for that though. Paul’s not leaving anytime soon,” the system builder said. “Still, it’s better to groom someone early enough. If they come in at the last minute, they could be caught off-guard as to what is happening at the company.”
Intel has seen its share of change at the top in the last few years. In September 20009, longtime executive Pat Gelsinger left Intel for storage vendor EMC as Intel underwent a major reorganization of its executive structure. The company divided its business into three organizations: the newly formed Intel Architecture Group, which is responsible for Intel's component business; Intel Technology and Manufacturing Group, which is responsible for global manufacturing; and the Intel Sales and Marketing Group.
The reorganization also involved promoting Sean Maloney to vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. According to The Wall Street Journal, analysts saw Mahoney as a likely successor to Otellini. Then last year Maloney suffered a stroke and took a medical leave of absence from the company. According to the report, Maloney remains in the running for the CEO position, although Intel has not yet begun the search for its next CEO.