Intel veteran Sean Maloney, considered the heir apparent to succeed Paul Otellini as the company's CEO, has decided to retire after 30 years with the chip maker.
Maloney, who is Intel executive vice president and chairman of Intel China, will retire in January, the company said in a statement.
Prior to leading operations in China, Maloney was promoted in 2009 to executive vice president and general manager for the company's Intel Architecture Group, and was viewed as a possible successor to Otellini to run Intel. Maloney, who has a strong sales and marketing background, became the second-in-command to Otellini along with the more technically minded Dadi Perlmutter, who is currently executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Architecture Group.
But Maloney suffered a stroke in 2010 and took a leave of absence for several months, and returned last year to take on Intel's China operations, a critical market with growing PC sales. Maloney had to go through a recovery process that included speech therapy, but he delivered the keynote address at last year's Computex trade show. However, after an intense work and travel schedule over the past 30 years, he has decided to retire.
"Through those years I've had the honor of working with some of the most brilliant minds in the world, from Andy Grove to Paul Otellini, and on the most cutting-edge technology," Maloney said in a statement issued by Intel.
Maloney made a lot of significant contributions to Intel, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.
"He was fairly active in the growth phase that happened in the 2000s," McCarron said. "Part of the decision to go after mobile was on his shoulders."
Maloney has a strong background in China. He worked in Hong Kong in the 1990s, and he managed sales and marketing in Asia-Pacific, including China. Intel now employs 8 percent of its staff, or 8,000 employees, across plants and offices in the country. In fiscal 2011 Intel reported US$8.1 billion in revenues in China and Hong Kong.
Intel has no plans to appoint a new chairman for the China operations, a spokeswoman said in an email. The company has established a China advisory board, which will be comprised of multiple executives to manage the short-term and long-term operations in China.
Intel's China operations are currently led by Ian Yang, who is the president of Intel China.