Intel CEO Paul Otellini is leaving his post in May. When that happens, don't expect some grubby outsider CEO to get his or her hands on the controls.
Speaking yesterday at the Sanford C. Bernstein Conference, Otellini acknowledged that he won't be able to decide who succeeds him, but said there's an overwhelmingly strong chance that the next Intel CEO already works there.
"I'm very comfortable with the internal candidates and the track record of internal versus external in our industry shows pretty clearly you want to stay inside if you can," Otellini said. He went on to say that even a "Mr. or Ms. Perfect" from outside the company will take "two years to figure out the culture and people and how systems work and stuff like that."
Intel announced last month that Otellini will retire in May after nearly 40 years with the company. During his time at the helm, Intel earned a cumulative $107 billion in cash from operations -- generally considered a reasonable measure of CEO performance -- and revenue rose from $38.8 billion to $54 billion. However, Intel's lagging mobile performance remains a black mark on Otellini's legacy, as rival chip designer ARM has carved out a major niche in of that space.
Otellini cautioned that he doesn't expect much to change when he's replaced.
"I don't expect our strategy to change, I guess to address the elephant in the room," he said. "I think the board is very comfortable with the strategy and assuming we stay inside, I think the management team is as well."