Intel CEO Paul Otellini has announced that he will retire at the company's annual stockholders' meeting in May of next year, bringing an end to his eight-year tenure as the guiding light for the company and an overall Intel career that spans almost 40 years.
Otellini leaves an indelible mark on the history of Intel. During his reign, revenues skyrocketed, the x86 architecture dominated and Apple's Mac switched from PowerPC processors to Intel inside. The fact that Apple is now reportedly considering migrating its PCs to the same ARM processors found in iOS devices highlights the uphill battle Intel currently faces.
With PC sales stagnating and mobile sales skyrocketing, Intel finds itself in the unusual position of being the underdog in the fight for the future, as ARM's power-efficient chips ship in the vast majority of tablets and smartphones. Intel's making inroads with the launch of Windows 8, hybrid-style Ultrabooks, and low-power Medfield and Clover Trail Atom processors, but the struggle ahead is sure to be long and hard-fought.
Otellini's decision to announce his departure now gives Intel six months to find a new leader and complete a smooth transition process. The company said it will look both internally and externally in its search for a new CEO, while Otellini plans to remain available as an advisor long after his time at the top is finished.
"I've been privileged to lead one of the world's greatest companies," Otellini said in Intel's press release. "After almost four decades with the company and eight years as CEO, it's time to move on and transfer Intel's helm to a new generation of leadership."