Intel Corp. hired Spencer Stuart & Associates Ltd. to help find its next chief executive officer, people with knowledge of the matter said, a sign that the chipmaker is seriously considering external candidates.
Potential internal successors to CEO Paul Otellini, who will retire in May, include Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich, Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith and software head Renee James, according to two other people, who asked not to be named because the search is private. Intel, founded in 1968, has never filled its top post with an executive from outside.
“No candidate has the inside track, and the board will be equally looking at internal and external candidates,” Laura Anderson, a spokeswoman for Santa Clara, California-based Intel, said yesterday. “The decision process will be the same for all of them. A board would not be fulfilling its responsibilities if it did not seek insight on talent available inside and outside the company.”
Robert Marston, a spokesman for Spencer Stuart, declined to comment.
Otellini said on Dec. 6 that picking an insider was the most likely outcome. The company was leaning toward internal candidates initially, people with knowledge of the matter said in November.
Given the company’s failure to make headway in mobile computing under current management, someone from the outside may prove more alluring to investors in an era when consumers are favoring handheld devices over the personal computers that make up most of Intel’s business.
When Intel announced Otellini’s planned departure in November, it also named three executive vice presidents: Krzanich, Smith and James, marking them as the primary candidates to lead the 44-year-old company.
Intel climbed less than 1 percent to $21.25 at the close in New York. The stock declined 15 percent last year, compared with a 13 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Qualcomm Inc., which in November surpassed Intel to become the biggest U.S. chipmaker by market capitalization, also gained 13 percent in 2012.