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Intel's board has given the go ahead for the long anticipated shift in power from current CEO Craig Barrett to current President Paul Otellini Come May 18, Otellini will take over the chipmaker and become its fifth ever CEO. He'll be the first Intel chief not to have a background in engineering. Otellini arrives as a marketing expert instead. God help us all.

Intel is really the place where boardroom intrigue goes to die. The company has a rigid succession plan and named Otellini as Barrett's likely replacement long ago. Barrett will become chairman, and current chairman Andy Grove will leave Intel's board and become a senior advisor. New rules at Intel will force Otellini, 54, to vacate the CEO post when he hits the big 60. A handful of vice presidents are already being groomed to fill this inevitable void.

Where other great companies often have grand battles for the top spot, hiring outsiders or making insiders fight each other to the death, Intel just plods along.

Otellini - Italian for baby otter - started at Intel back in 1974 and will be leading the company during a new, even more conservative phase. A series of product delays, cancellations and total fiascos (hello, Itanic) have caused the firm to tighten manufacturing policies and be more conservative about future product predictions. ®

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