Intel's Otellini To Succeed Barrett As CEO Next Year

"I think that [Otellini's appointment] is going to do nothing but benefit the channel," said Steve Bohman, vice president of operations at Columbus Micro Systems, a Columbus, Ohio-based system builder and a member of the Intel Premier Provider Board of Advisors.

Intel's board of directors last week named Otellini to succeed Craig Barrett, current CEO, in May. Barrett will take the chairman post, Intel said.

Otellini, 53, has been president and COO of Intel since 2002. He is a 30-year veteran of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant.

That Otellini will succeed Barrett, 65, is not a surprise, as that is Intel's mandatory retirement age for CEOs. Barrett, meanwhile, will succeed Andy Grove as Intel's chairman next year, the company said. Grove will leave the board, but will remain as a senior adviser to the board.

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In a recent interview for CRN's annual Top 25 Executives report, Otellini said he has come to respect Barrett's competitiveness, as well as the importance of Grove's "clarity of strategy and strategic thinking."

Otellini said the CEO transition will be seamless. "Intel is a company that, in our 36-year history, has managed transitions exceptionally well," he said. "I think part of that is reflecting on the fact that we've never been a company where we live and die by the cult of the CEO--nor are we consensus-managed, which is the other extreme."

He noted the current management team has worked together for a long enough time--and has faced enough of the same challenges--to be on essentially the same page.

"There is a fairly seasoned and highly tenured group of managers who have been running the company for two or three decades together," Otellini said. "That continuity of management team is really the secret to this thing."

In addition to his various roles as executive vice president, president and COO, Otellini worked his way up Intel's ranks in part as a top channel sales executive.

Columbus Micro's Bohman said his encounters with Otellini while serving on the Intel Premier Provider Board of Advisors have left him convinced the CEO-to-be understands the needs of the channel.

"He's very aware of the channel and aware of the challenges we face," Bohman said. "He is very committed to the channel."