INTEL chief executive Paul Otellini is to retire in May, as the world's leading chipmaker faces a shift toward mobile computing.
Intel, which employs over 4,000 people in Ireland, said it would consider both internal and external candidates for the CEO position and it expected the "leadership transition" to last six months.
As well as Mr Otellini's retirement, the company also revealed it would promote three executives to executive vice- presidents, effectively making them next in line for the top job. Renee James is in charge of Intel software; Brian Krzanich is chief operating officer and head of oversees manufacturing; Stacy Smith is chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.
The company dominates the processor business for PCs but has been slow to expand into the fast-growing mobile industry, where Apple's iPads and iPhones and other devices use competing technology from UK firm ARM.
"We all know that everyone is using smartphones and tablets now. It's the era of Intel versus ARM, so it may be good to come in with some fresh blood and a new perspective," Evercore analyst Patrick Wang said.
Since it was founded in 1968, Intel has had a history of promoting CEOs from within. But the increasing belief that the "PC era", which Intel helped create, may be drawing to a close could lead Intel's board to choose an external candidate with experience in mobile, analysts said.
However, of the three executives that were promoted yesterday, Ms Smith and Mr Krzanich have in the past been viewed as potential future bosses.
Mr Otellini was the company's fifth CEO, stepping into the post in the second quarter of 2005. The company has an internal rule of retiring its CEOs at age 65, but the 40-year veteran of the company is only 62. (Additional reporting by Reuters)