Intel has chosen veteran insider Brian Krzanich as CEO, disappointing some investors who hoped an outsider would push for changes to help the world’s largest chipmaker catch up in the mobile revolution.
Intel also announced that software honcho Renée James, has been elevated to the post of president.
Her appointment signalled to some that Intel, while likely intending to stick with its formula of intense investment to keep it ahead in the microchip technology game, is willing to explore new growth areas.
The company said last November that it might go external for its next CEO, raising hopes that it might find someone to shake it out of recent doldrums. Seen as a frontrunner for the job since November, Krzanich inherits a company with margins of almost 60% that has all but extinguished rival Advanced Micro Devices, and is now the dominant maker of microprocessors for computers and servers.
But the company is in danger of finding itself sidelined as mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones accelerate a contraction of the personal computer market.
The majority of gadgets today run processors based on rival ARM Holdings Plc’s power-saving chip architecture.
“An external candidate might have been a better choice — with no negative reflection on Brian — simply because of the juncture Intel is at with what’s happening in the PC market and the need to take major action outside of PCs,” said Cody Acree, an analyst at Williams Financial Group.
“Brian may very well come in and make those same very difficult dramatic choices, but it’s less likely.”
He will take on the top job at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on May 16, replacing Paul Otellini.
A relative unknown outside the semiconductor industry, Krzanich has worked at Intel since 1982, rising to chief operating officer just over a year ago.
The 52-year-old has earned a reputation for being a decisive leader who liked to keep a low profile.