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Intel's Barrett: I will retire

But not yet Pat, Paul and Sean

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Stockholm In an unusually frank admission that he has other plans than to work for Intel forever, Craig Barrett, CEO of the semiconductor firm, told The Register he is looking for a successor, almost certainly from inside the company.

Barrett, asked whether he had any plans to retire, said he was unaware of the rumours that his departure was in the offing, but did say that his replacement, when he or she arrives, may not be selected for their semiconductor background.

Barrett, who is called "The Ice Man" within Intel because of his cool appraisal of issues, has had a tough two years, presiding over possibly the most difficult phases of execution at the company, and also implementing Intel as an Internet company in the wake of the Pentium FDIV fiasco. That, he added yesterday, had convinced Intel to look at the Internet seriously, and change the business model radically.

Said Barrett: "I wasn't aware of these rumours. The last place you'll ever find me is in the US government." The idea of government made his blood pressure rise, he said.

"I have no plans to resign in the short term. One of the jobs I do have is to organise an orderly succession. I doubt a successor would come from outside the company. Senior management has to be more generalised rather than be semiconductor born and bred."

Sean Maloney, Pat 'Kicking' Gelsinger and Paul Otellini and others have all been tipped for the top post at Intel after Barrett, known to love outdoor pursuits such as fishing and the like, retires.

There must now follow a period of political infighting which Andy Grove, still the overall commander of Intel, will want to prevent.

Gelsinger, for example, who designed the 386 processor which catapulted Intel into the big league, is favoured by many as the heir apparent. Ottellini, who was approached to replace Compaq's Eckhard Pfeiffer for Compaq, is known to be not particularly interested in top jobs. But Maloney, a Brit, despite his Irish name, and at one-time Grove's right hand man, might feel peeved by Barrett's outspoken comments.

Barrett announced a two billion dollar investment in Dublin Monday, opened a Bluetooth centre in Stockholm Tuesday, and will be in Moscow this Friday. The fishing must be good, we suspect. He returns to Santa Clara on 27 June. ®

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