Intel, Oregon's largest private employer, picks new CEO - KPTV - FOX 12

Intel, Oregon's largest private employer, picks new CEO

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Brian Krzanich Brian Krzanich

Intel's chief operating officer, Brian Krzanich, will become its next CEO in two weeks, tasked with steering the world's largest chipmaker through an industry shake-up that is seeing tablets and smartphones overshadow Intel's base in personal computers.

Intel, one of the pillars of Silicon Valley, announced Thursday that Krzanich, who is 52, will replace Paul Otellini on May 16. Otellini, 62, announced his decision to resign six months ago and will end a nearly 40-year career with Intel, including eight years as CEO.

Intel's operations in Oregon stretch across six campuses in Washington County, comprising the company's largest site in the world. Intel is also the state's largest private employer, with more than 17,000 employees.

The company acquired its first property in Oregon in 1974 and capital investments in the state have topped $20 billion since then, including a new development fabrication facility in Hillsboro called D1X.

Intel processors are the brains behind four out of every five PCs, but the company has been scrambling as PC sales plummet and people spend money instead on smartphones and tablet computers. Those mobile devices need processors that use less battery power, a technology Intel has only just mastered.

In an interview, Krzanich said he will tackle the challenge of declining PC sales by relying on the assets that Intel is built on: its engineering prowess and enormous, billion-dollar chip factories, based on technologies that are years ahead of its competitors.

"Those assets will be focused more and more toward the ultra-mobility space ... tablets and phones," Krzanich told The Associated Press. "These are areas that we need to build a presence in, and we have the assets to bring to bear on it. And those are the same assets that have made us so successful in the past."

The appointment was not surprising. The chief operating officer job is the traditional stepping-stone to the CEO post at Intel. Both Otellini and his predecessor, Craig Barrett, held that job before becoming CEO.

Krzanich isn't inheriting Otellini's title of president. It will go instead to software chief Renee James, 48, creating a two-person "executive office" at the head of the company. James had been another candidate for the CEO post, along with Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.

Krzanich said the division of labor was his choice. He said he and James put together the strategy for getting into mobile chips, and when the board picked him as CEO, he requested that James become his second-in-command.

"The best way to go implement (the strategy) quickly is to have two people in the leadership team going forward so you can work twice as fast," Krzanich said.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said James' promotion is a reflection of the importance of software at Intel today. Of the employees needed to create a new smartphone chip, 60 percent to 70 percent will be working on the software the chip needs to work and communicate with the rest of the phone, he said.

After graduating from college with a chemistry degree, Krzanich started at Intel Corp. in 1982 as a process engineer in New Mexico. He worked his way up through the manufacturing side of the business to become COO in January 2012.

Krzanich will be Intel's sixth CEO since its founding 45 years ago.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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