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Intel taps longtime insider as new CEO

Chipmaker focuses on tablets, phones


– Intel, one of the pillars of Silicon Valley, is following its traditions and promoting an insider to the job of CEO.

The world’s largest chipmaker is giving Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich the task of steering it through an industry shake-up that is seeing tablets and smartphones overshadow Intel’s base in personal computers.

Intel announced Thursday that Krzanich will replace Paul Otellini on May 16.

Six months ago, Otellini, 62, announced his surprise decision to resign and will end a nearly 40-year career with Intel, including eight years as CEO.

Krzanich, who is 52 and spent his entire career at the company, comes out of a manufacturing organization where meticulous attention is required to churn out processors with billions of minute details.

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, which feature 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.”

Krzanich isn’t inheriting Otellini’s title of president. It will go instead to software chief Renee James, 48, who had been another candidate for the CEO post. Krzanich said the division of labor was his choice. He said he and James put together a strategy for getting into mobile chips, and when the board picked him as CEO, he asked that James become his second-in-command.

Intel’s stock rose 12 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close Thursday at $24.11.