Intel CEO Paul Otellini to Retire in May

Intel announced on Monday that CEO Paul Otellini will be retiring in May. Mr. Otellini has led Intel since 2005, and was instrumental in working out a deal with Apple to bring that company's Mac product line to the Intel platform.

“I’ve been privileged to lead one of the world’s greatest companies,” Mr. Otellini said in a statement. “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. I look forward to working with Andy, the board and the management team during the six-month transition period, and to being available as an advisor to management after retiring as CEO.”

Mr. Otellini will depart in May, and Intel's board is directing the search for his replacement. The company noted there have been only five CEOs during Intel's 45 year existence.

Intel released a few factoids concerning Mr. Otellini's tenure from the second quarter of 2005 through the third quarter of 2012, including:

  • Intel generated cash from operations of US$107 billion, an impressive feat, but it's just shy of Apple's cash on hand of $121 billion, for those who want to measure at home.
  • Intel made $23.5 billion in dividend payments, also an impressive feat.
  • The company increased its quarterly dividend 181 percent from $0.08 to $0.225. Intel has some 5 billion shares outstanding, more than five times that of Apple, which pays a dividend of $2.65 per share.

Mr. Otellini first joined Intel in 1974, or 38 years ago. He had many executive positions within the company throughout his career, and joined Intel's board of directors in 2002. He also took on the roles of president and chief operations officer that year, and was named as outgoing CEO Craig Barrett's replacement in 2005.

Mac fans may remember him best for his numerous appearances onstage with the late Steve Jobs. Apple announced at its 2005 World Wide Developer Conference that the company was dropping PowerPC and moving the Mac to Intel.

At Macworld 2006, Apple then announced the first two Macs (iMac and MacBook Pro) to feature Intel processors, and Paul Otellini was on stage for the event. The Mac Observer took the photo below when Mr. Otellini came out dressed in an Intel "bunny suit," the name of the clean room gear...(more)

Steve Jobs & The Bunny Suit

Steve Jobs & The Bunny Suit
Photo by Bryan Chaffin

...made famous in a popular and very successful series of Intel adds featuring dancers in the suit in the 1990s. Apple spoofed the ad in 1998 with an ad called Toasted (see below) in which it claimed its G3 PowerPC processors were up to twice as fast Intel's processors.

With that as the backdrop, it may explain why it was so funny when the bunny suit on stage with Mr. Jobs took off his hat and revealed himself to be Mr. Otellini of the ever-so-powerful Intel.

Steve Jobs & Paul Otellini

Steve Jobs & Paul Otellini
Photograph by Bryan Chaffin

It was a very poignant moment encapsulating the end of Apple's efforts to compete with Intel through PowerPC.

Oh, what the heck, we'll include the 1998 Toasted ad, too: