SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp Chairman Craig Barrett, the courtly former academic credited with building the company into the world’s foremost chip maker, will retire in May after 35 years at the firm.
Independent director Jane Shaw will become nonexecutive chairman of the chip powerhouse as Silicon Valley struggles through potentially one of its worst-ever crises, with companies from Microsoft Corp to Seagate Technology laying off thousands to try to offset crumbling corporate and consumer spending.
Barrett is a member of senior management who represents Intel to foreign governments and is involved in a number of international educational projects. Shaw, however, will be Intel’s first chairman recruited from outside the company’s executive ranks since Arthur Rock, an Intel co-founder and venture capitalist.
Both Shaw and Barrett are aged 69.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Patrick Wang does not see the change as significant.
“This isn’t going to be meaningful in terms of impacting Intel’s operations or execution any time in the near future.”
He said Shaw, who has been on Intel’s board since 1993, knew the company well. Still, he did not expect her to be too involved in the company’s day-to-day operations.
Shaw retired in 2005 as chairman and CEO of Aerogen Inc, which developed drug-device aerosol products. She also sits on the board of McKesson Corp. She holds a Ph.D in physiology from Birmingham University in England.
Intel, like much of the technology sector, is feeling the pain of the global economic slowdown and waning demand for PCs. It just announced plans to cut up to 6,000 jobs, and posted a 23 decline in revenue in its most recent quarter.
Barrett served as Intel’s chief executive from 1998 through 2005, until current CEO Paul Otellini took over, and became chairman in 2005. Intel did not say what Barrett planned to do upon retirement.
Shares of Intel climbed as much as 4.4 percent as better-than-expected earnings from Google Inc on Thursday fueled tech-sector gains. Intel was up 28 cents, or 2.2 percent, at $13.10 on Nasdaq late Friday afternoon.
“Intel became the world’s largest and most successful semiconductor company in 1992 and has maintained that position ever since,” Barrett said in a statement on Friday.
Barrett built Intel into one of the technology sector’s powerhouses and a global household name. It remains the world’s largest maker of microprocessors used in personal computers, outshining rival Advanced Micro Devices in worldwide market share.
Otellini’s succession was announced in November 2004. Intel CEOs at the time were required to step down at 65.
Barrett joined the Santa Clara, California-based company in 1974 as a technology development manager. A former Stanford University college professor, Barrett was known for formulating Intel’s “copy exactly” strategy, meaning every chip-making plant was a mirror reflection of every other one.
Barrett is active in philanthropic causes, and he chairs the U.N. Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technology and Development.
“Technology can be used in tremendous ways to impact people’s lives on the ground,” Barrett told an audience during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month.
(Additional reporting by David Lawsky)
Editing by Edwin Chan, Gerald E. McCormick, Richard Chang