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Intel Names Krzanich CEO; James President

The pair will take up their new jobs on May 16, the date of the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting

The company said Thursday morning that the board had unanimously picked Intel COO Brian Krzanich to replace Otellini, who in a surprise move decided to step down early a few months ago apparently with the taste of failure in his mouth given the market's rejection of the desktop and Intel's lack of position in mobile.

Intel also did something historic and split Otellini's CEO and presidential roles apart, naming Renée James its first woman president and CEO heir presumptive.

The pair will take up their new jobs on May 16, the date of the company's annual stockholders' meeting.

Krzanich, 52, was named COO in January of 2012. Since then, Intel said, he's been running an organization of more than 50,000 employees consisting of Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, Intel Custom Foundry, NAND Solutions group, HR, IT and Intel's China strategy.

Chairman Andy Bryant said in a statement that "Brian is a strong leader with a passion for technology and deep understanding of the business. His track record of execution and strategic leadership, combined with his open-minded approach to problem solving has earned him the respect of employees, customers and partners worldwide. He has the right combination of knowledge, depth and experience to lead the company during this period of rapid technology and industry change."

Krzanich got to the top through a series of jobs since he joined the company in 1982, roughly 30 years ago.

James, 48, was chief of staff for Intel's great former CEO Andy Grove and of late has been running Intel's Software and Services Group, which may indicate where Intel thinks a lot of its future lies.

She has also served as chairman of Intel's software subsidiaries Havok, McAfee and Wind River and is currently on the board of Vodafone and VMware.

Krzanich said in a statement that "I look forward to partnering with Renée as we begin a new chapter in Intel's history. Her deep understanding and vision for the future of computing architecture, combined with her broad experience running product R&D and one of the world's largest software organizations, are extraordinary assets for Intel."

The pair will have to wrestle with the fact that company's recently reported first-quarter results showed a 25% drop in net income and a 2.5% decline in revenue.

CNBC said that Krzanich and James teamed up and presented the board with a strong mobile strategy. It also claimed that external candidates were in the running until the very end although it's not in Intel's DNA to go outside but it's now considered good governance.

Intel confirmed that the two had paired up during their CEO interviews. They were each then interviewed separately and Krzanich got the job.

Intel under Grove and Barrett had a president but not under Otellini. Now the board's choice Krzanich went back to them and reportedly said the job's too big for us to move as fast as we have to so I want Renée as president. And that's how Intel got its new executive office.

Brian and Renée are reportedly still figuring out how to divide up responsibilities although Intel made it clear "she works for him." They will meet with senior management Friday to lay out their plans and each level in the company in turn will be involved and get to put in its two cents.

Krzanich's appointment and his background in manufacturing indicate to many observers that Intel's historic strategy remains what it's always been - to flex its manufacturing muscle. He's pretty good at running manufacturing. When part of DEC went to Intel (as part of a legal settlement) there was a DEC fab running at 20% capacity. Krzanich was given the job of dealing with it. In less than a year the facility was profitable and in two years it was running at full capacity. We're supposed to see Intel move fast.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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