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Intel eyes up HP chief for top job

Looking for Otellini heirs

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Intel is looking to build up its executive ranks and is apparently willing to look outside of the chip company's own walls to find some new top brass to compete for the top jobs that president and chief executive officer, Paul Otellini, will vacate in five years or so.

A report in the Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources, who claim that Intel contacted Todd Bradley, the executive vice president in charge of Hewlett-Packard's $41bn PC business, and tried to woo him into joining the chip maker. While the WSJ report didn't say when Intel approached Bradley, it was probably after Leo Apotheker had been chosen as president and CEO instead of a half dozen people inside of HP who could have done the job, including Bradley.

Bradley, who was CEO at Palm and executive VP in charge of operations at Gateway before that, is not only in charge of HP's PC, smartphone, and tablet lines. He also controls the vast HP supply chain and its channel partner network. That makes him one of the most important people at HP, which is a neat trick since he is not an HP insider like many other executives are. (Bradley actually joined HP in 2006, years ahead of its Palm acquisition.)

HP is learning to bring people in from the outside – Dave Donatelli from EMC to run servers and storage, John Hogan from IBM to run sales, and Apotheker from SAP to run the whole shebang. After losing Pat Gelsinger to disk array and data appliance wannabe EMC a year and a half ago, Intel is apparently contemplating hiring outside talent, too.

Intel may have no choice. Sean Maloney, who co-manages the Architecture Group at Intel, is still recovering from a stroke he suffered a year ago. Maloney, who is widely regarded as one of the top runners for Otellini's job about five years hence, was once a technical assistant to Andy Grove, CEO and chairman at Intel in the 1990s. Maloney currently shares the manager job at the Architecture Group, which controls the creation and sales of chips and chipsets, with David Perlmutter, who used to run Intel's mobile chip line before all chips were converged into a single group in September 2009.

Bradley, according to the WSJ report, rebuffed Intel's advances earlier this month. This won't be the last time someone tries to hire him away. Michael Dell is probably wanting to get back to doing whatever it is he was doing when he wasn't actually running the company that bears his name, for instance. ®

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