Intel CEO Paul Otellini, a major fixture in the technology universe, has announced that he will retire as a company officer and director. His retirement, scheduled for the stockholders' meeting in May, follows a career of nearly 40 years with the industry's dominant chipmaker.

Andy Bryant, chairman of the board, said in a statement that Otellini "has been a very strong leader," and noted that he has only been the fifth CEO in the company's 45 years of existence. The retirement date provides six months for a transition to a new CEO.

'New Generation'

For his part, Otellini, 62, told news media that, after nearly four decades with Intel, including eight years as CEO, "it's time to move on and transfer Intel's helm to a new generation of leadership."

Otellini's successor will find a rapidly changing environment in the semiconductor industry. Intel's profit in the third quarter fell 14 percent due to higher expenses and a drop in personal computers, as the industry moves toward mobile Relevant Products/Services and Intel tries to compete in that space. Intel remains king for desktop and laptop PCs, whose lessening demand may pick up in response to the recent release of Windows 8.

His successor will also have a significantly large pair of shoes to fill. During the time he's been CEO -- from the second quarter of 2005 through the present -- the company has seen $107 billion in revenue from operations, distributed $23.5 billion in dividends, and increased the quarterly dividend 181 percent from $0.08 to $0.225. The company had record annual revenue and net income during this time, growing from $38.8 billion to $54 billion.

'Hand-Picked'

Otellini generally receives high marks for streamlining the company's operations and cost structure, originating and launching the Ultrabook form factor and spec, increasing partnerships, and launching the first smartphones and tablets with Intel processors. The company also achieved dramatic improvement in the energy efficiency of its processors, and such innovations as High-K/Metal gate and 3D Tri-gate transistors, during his tenure.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, noted that Otellini had been "hand-picked" by the previous CEO, Craig Barrett, who himself had been hand-picked by the legendary trio that started the company -- Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove.

She pointed out, unlike some recent, forced transitions in other companies, this one is "natural," as indicated by the fact that his departure is six months hence. DiDio expressed some surprise that the search will be both internal and external. She said that she thought "they'd already have someone in mind," although she did note that three new promotions could position their occupants for the top job at some point.

Along with the announcement of Otellini's retirement, Intel said it was promoting three executives to the position of executive vice president. These are Renee James, head of software Relevant Products/Services, Brian Krzanich, COO and head of worldwide manufacturing, and Stacy Smith, CFO and director of corporate strategy.