Intel Corp., the world’s biggest maker of computer chips, said Thursday that President and Chief Operating Officer Paul S. Otellini would become chief executive in May, taking over as the company is trying to expand beyond semiconductors and develop other computer technology.
Otellini, 54, will take over when Craig R. Barrett leaves the post and becomes chairman in a succession that had been widely expected. Barrett, 65, had been chief operating officer before he was named chief executive in 1998.
The decision, finalized at a meeting Wednesday of Intel’s board of directors, means that for the first time the chip giant will be led by a marketing specialist rather than an engineer.
“There’s a transition from someone who really pushed technology ahead to someone where there’s a question of how aggressive the company is going to be with advancing technology,” said Doug Friedman, a semiconductor analyst in San Francisco at investment bank American Technology Research. “Intel’s very technology-rich, and I do believe that him not having an engineering background will not be a huge detriment.”
Intel co-founder Andrew S. Grove said the pairing of marketer Otellini and engineer Barrett was “the right team at the right time.”
The hand-over comes at a time when Intel is trying to expand beyond the design and production of computer chips. The Santa Clara, Calif., company, whose microprocessors power 80% of the world’s personal computers, has been developing wireless, video and audio technologies and has even begun designing computers.
A San Francisco native, Otellini earned a bachelor’s in economics from the University of San Francisco in 1972 and a master’s in business administration from UC Berkeley in 1974. He joined Intel that year and became head of the microprocessor products group in 1990 and head of global sales and marketing in 1992. Under his direction, Intel rolled out the Pentium chip in 1993; today it runs the majority of the world’s PCs.
Otellini took over the company’s microprocessor and chipset businesses in 1998. He became chief operating officer in 2002, making him the front-runner to succeed Barrett.
Intel shares rose 31 cents Thursday to $23.17 on Nasdaq.