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Intel CEO Paul Otellini will retire in May

After an almost 40-year career with the chip giant, Otellini will step down as president and CEO in the second quarter of next year.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
Dan Farber/CNET

Intel's Paul Otellini will retire from his post as president and CEO in May 2013, the chipmaker announced today.

The time frame will give the board of directors almost six months to look for the right person to succeed Otellini. The board said that it's open to either internal or external candidates for the job, a sign that the company doesn't appear to have anyone specific in mind at this point.

Otellini's retirement will close the door on almost 40 years of employment with Intel.

"Paul Otellini has been a very strong leader, only the fifth CEO in the company's great 45-year history, and one who has managed the company through challenging times and market transitions," Andy Bryant, chairman of the board, said in a statement. "The board is grateful for his innumerable contributions to the company and his distinguished tenure as CEO over the last eight years."

Otellini will work with Intel to transition his role and will still be available as an adviser post-retirement.

"I've been privileged to lead one of the world's greatest companies," 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."

Intel has also promoted three of its senior staffers to executive vice presidents, namely Renee James, head of Intel's software business; Brian Krzanich, chief operating officer and head of worldwide manufacturing; and Stacy Smith, chief financial officer and director of corporate strategy.

The company touted Otellini's achievements as CEO, starting from the second quarter of 2005 through this year's third quarter.

During that time, Intel introduced ultrabooks to the PC market, delivered the first smartphones and tablets with Intel chips inside, improved the energy efficiency of Intel processors, and expanded itself through several business partnerships and acquisitions. Since the start of Otellini's tenure, Intel has generated $107 billion in cash, while annual revenue rose to $54 billion from $38.8 billion.

Otellini raised eyebrows a couple of months ago over negative comments about Windows 8 reportedly made in an internal meeting. In September, the CEO said that the new OS still wasn't fully developed and was being released before it was ready. But he called it the right move if Microsoft and PC makers were to compete against Apple over the crucial holiday season.

The chief exec later tried to smooth over any feathers ruffled at Microsoft by publicly declaring Windows 8 "one of the best things that's ever happened to our company."

After joining Intel in 1974, Otellini managed several of the company's businesses, including its PC and server microprocessor division and the global sales and marketing organization. In 2002, he became Intel's president and chief operating officer and was elected to the board of directors. In May of 2005, he succeeded Craig Barrett as president and CEO.

Update 7:10 a.m. PT: Expanded the story with additional details and background.