Saturday, January 24, 2009

Intel's Barrett to step down

Craig Barrett, Intel's 69-year-old chairman and former chief executive, will retire in May, the company announced Friday. But analysts and others familiar with the Santa Clara computer-chip giant said they don't believe the move signals major changes for the company.

Jane Shaw, who joined the Intel board in 1993, will succeed Barrett as board chair. Unlike Barrett, she will not also have day-to-day responsibilities for helping manage the company, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said. While the company doesn't have to fill Barrett's vacancy, he said it probably will do so and conduct a formal search for a candidate.

Mulloy added that Shaw will be Intel's first chair since Arthur Rock, who assumed the post in 1968, to serve without some ongoing or prior management experience at the chip maker. But he noted that she is well acquainted with Intel because of her lengthy board tenure.

Barrett, Shaw and Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini could not be reached for comment. But Barrett, who joined Intel in 1974 and served as chief executive from 1998 through 2005, said in a prepared statement that he was fortunate to have been able to work at Intel with such industry legends as Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove.

"Intel became the world's largest and most successful semiconductor company in 1992 and has maintained that position ever since," said Barrett, who lives in the Phoenix area and has regularly commuted to Santa Clara as chairman. "I

have every confidence that Intel will continue this leadership under the direction of Paul Otellini and his management team."

The statement also quoted Otellini as praising Barrett, who chairs the U.N. Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology and Development, and has been active in issues such as education, health care and U.S. competitiveness.

"He has been my colleague, supervisor, mentor and friend for these 35 years. I wish him the very best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life," Otellini said.

Intel's co-founder, Moore, a past chief executive and chairman of the company, noted that Barrett hasn't been deeply involved in the chip maker's daily operations lately. Instead, he said, "Craig has been going around the world touting the importance of education and how computers can help with that."

Moore noted that Barrett generally had been known for acquiring companies and branching into new markets, while Otellini has largely narrowed Intel's focus and cut costs. On Wednesday, Otellini announced that the company was laying off at least 5,000 employees and closing five manufacturing plants, including one in Santa Clara.

Moore said that probably doesn't reflect a major difference of opinion between Barrett and Otellini, adding that Barrett might have been forced to scale back his expansion plans if he had been CEO during the recent economic slowdown.

Nathan Brookwood, a research fellow at the Saratoga market consulting firm Insight 64, agreed that Barrett's retirement probably doesn't reflect a major shift for the chip maker, adding, "I wouldn't see this as having any impact on the company's day-to-day operations."


Source :