Best Ideas and Dividend Growth Newsletters holding Intel (INTC) announced that it has ended its search to find a replacement for current President and CEO Paul Otellini. Stepping into the CEO role will be current COO Brian Krzanich, while Renee James will take the helm as president.
Krzanich appears to be a typical Intel hire, in our view. Every Intel CEO has come from within after spending several years at the firm. Krzanich joined the company in 1982, and has since held various roles throughout the development and business side of the firm. His expertise lies in manufacturing, which has been a crown jewel of Intel's competitive advantage over the past several years. Although we aren't reading too much into the hire, we believe it signifies the board's satisfaction with his work over the years, and it could foreshadow increased activity in the foundry business. Ultimately, we doubt the firm will pursue a drastically different strategy under Krzanich, though the landscape of the chip business is certain to evolve. We assume Krzanich will also increase the firm's focus on mobile computing.
As for James, she's been in her current position as Senior Vice President of Software and Services since 2007, and previously served as legendary Intel CEO Andy Grove's chief of staff. She also sits as chair on all of Intel's software companies' boards, and sits on the board of VMware (VMW) and Vodafone (VOD). We believe her hire suggests the company will continue to expand its software presence, following the trend we've seen at other hardware firms like Dell (DELL) and HP (HPQ). With the company showing a preference for internal capital investment and returning capital to shareholders since the McAfee acquisition, we think the tides could turn in favor of additional software acquisitions.
Ultimately, we aren't shocked by the hire, nor do we think it will result in a seismic shift in Intel's business strategy. Nevertheless, we are pleased to have clarity on the issue, and we look forward to seeing what new ideas Krzanich and James may bring to the table. Shares of Intel remain undervalued, in our view, and we will continue to hold the name in our actively managed portfolios.
Additional disclosure: INTC is included in our actively managed portfolios.