Besieged by a changing market, Intel chooses new CEO from the inside

Intel’s(s INTC) board has elected Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich as its next CEO, succeeding Paul Otellini. Krzanich will assume his new role at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting on May 16.

Intel's incoming CEO Brian Krzanich.
Intel’s incoming CEO, Brian Krzanich.

Krzanich, who has held roles at Intel since 1982, becomes the sixth CEO for the chip giant. But the real question is if he can help steer the company through an increasingly competitive semiconductor market as changes in the mobile arena erode the demand for Intel’s PC chips. There are also changes in the data center that aren’t hurting Intel yet, but will introduce more competition. The board seems to think he’s capable. From the release:

“Brian is a strong leader with a passion for technology and deep understanding of the business,” said Andy Bryant, chairman of Intel. “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.”

Intel's incoming president Renee James.
Intel’s incoming president, Renee James.

Krzanich acknowledged the changing industry in part in his canned quote in the release, referring to “ultra-mobility,” as the next era for Intel.

In a symbol of its understanding of the importance of software, the Intel board also elected Renee James as president of Intel. She also assumes her new role on May 16. James had a leadership role in Intel’s R&D division and was the chair of its McAfee, Wind River and Havok software operations, which means she probably has a lot of the insights into the threats and opportunities Intel faces, as well as understands what the chip giant can bring to bear on the market.

James also currently serves on the board of directors of Vodafone Group Plc and VMware Inc. and was chief of staff to former Intel CEO Andy Grove. Frankly, she looks like the one who can understand the reality of Intel’s position in the changing world. Hopefully she and Krzanich can bypass Intel’s usual hubris and just focus on making sure it can come out on top when the winds of change stop blowing.