Paul Otellini, CEO, is retiring from Intel (INTC) in May after a 40 year career at the company. After surviving and thriving 40 years in the semiconductor business, MR. Otellini is entitled to the Mister title in caps, so this is not a typo. This man started with Intel, as a rookie, before there was an X86 architecture and before there was a PC. All the previous Intel CEOs were scientist/businessmen, MR. Otellini is the first CEO without an advanced engineering education yet he managed Intel through, arguably, some of the company's most difficult times.
During MR. Otellini's career he had responsibility for IBM and Apple. Imagine that; responsibility for the two most Important customers in the history of Intel. He dealt successfully with the "difficult" Steve Jobs during the transition from, get this, the IBM Power PC architecture to the Intel X86 architecture. That is just characteristic of the tight wire routines that MR. Otellini has walked during his career. The latest of these is dealing, as an indispensable supplier, with Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) who are, admittedly in "thermonuclear" war with each other.
After starting in 1974, MR. Otellini has risen through the ranks at Intel with stops at every important administrative, strategic, and operational post in the company including Andy Grove's personal assistant. I think it is hard for us mere mortals to understand the previous sentence. Intel is no ordinary company. Intel is home to many of the brightest and, probably, most difficult people on this planet. MR. Otellini finishes his career as truly the very best of the best, the absolute cream of the cream in American business.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, MR. Otellini will host his last earnings conference calls as Intel CEO. I expect and sincerely hope that we hear his view of the last 40 years of progress in the technology world. I would also expect that we hear of MR. Otellini's view of the future and I fully expect that we will hear things never before discussed, in public, about the positioning of the company he is leaving. This man deserves to leave Intel on the highest note possible, so expect some very clear guidance on the strategic direction for the last half of 2013 and the future beyond. Whatever tricks it takes, the accounting types will make his last CC pleasant. This is an opportunity for analysts to ask some real questions instead of the puff balls we have all come to expect, and MR. Otellini will probably give them clear and honest answers.
I expect the stock price to rise after the CC. In the extreme the stock price could rise substantially and current competitors' stock prices could decline substantially.
I am very long Intel and have added some short term juice, so I don't have that to worry about. I can sit back and comfortably enjoy what I believe will be an interesting technology history lesson and a unique peek into the future of Intel.
In these days of near free trades, I would advise anyone invested in Intel competitors to move to the sideline for next week. If nothing happens, restore the positions the following week. I'm not talking about shorting, I'm saying that if I owned Qualcomm (QCOM), Nvidia (NVDA), TSMC (TSM), ARM (ARMH), actually nearly any semiconductor company, I would step to the side for a day or two. The retirement of an eagle like MR. Otellini doesn't happen every day -- there is sure to be a turbulent wake of some magnitude.
MR. Otellini, you will have at least one old "semiconductor peddler" watching what you do from here.