Otellini, who became the company's fifth CEO on May 18, 2005, succeeding Craig R. Barrett, was vague about his decision to leave in a statement issued by the company.
"I've been privileged to lead one of the world's greatest companies," said the departing chief executive, who joined Intel in 1974 and turned 62 on Oct. 12. "After almost four decades with the company and eight years as CEO, it's time to move on and transfer Intel's helm to a new generation of leadership."
Intel has a tradition of gradually easing out its retiring CEOs, while carefully grooming their replacements from within the corporation. The company's announcement that it "will consider internal and external candidates" stuck some industry observers as curious.
"Otellini's sudden announcement of retirement at 62 years of age will raise a few eyebrows," Raymond James analyst Hans Mosesmann said in a note to his clients. But he said it may reflect Intel's troubles getting its chips -- which are predominately used in personal computers -- into mobile devices, which mostly use more power-efficient chips made by companies licensing a design from British firm ARM Holdings.
In disclosing Otellini's plans, Intel also announced several promotions of executives who conceivably could be candidates to replace him.
Named executive vice presidents were Renee James, who heads Intel's software business; Brian Krzanich, Intel's chief operating officer; and Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith.
But while all three are "solid executives," Mosesmann said, none of them appear to have the background needed to help Intel battle its ARM competitors and he added, "Our bet is that Intel goes outside for its new CEO."
Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh said Intel also might want to consider as CEO Sean Maloney, who heads up Intel China and who suffered a debilitating stroke in March 2010. But in a note to his clients, Rakesh said Otellini's retirement might serve as "an opportunity to do a reboot with new blood from outside."
©2012 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
MORE HBJ HEADLINES
Cocktail parties, free breakfasts help Mukilteo workplace win award Bankruptcy filings Briefs: Everett's Keller Williams adds The Gallaher Group Millennium Falcon sans Han Solo passes through Port of Everett Port sees logs headed to Japan for first time in decade Obama’s community college proposal could help small business
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.