While many believed that Intel would be drawing lots from among its own managers to find a new leader, it seems that the board has other ideas.
According to Bloomberg, the fashion bag maker has hired Spencer Stuart to help find its next chief executive officer.
People in the know claim that is a sign that the chipmaker is seriously considering external candidates.
CEO Paul Otellini, who will retire in May, has several strong candidates from within the company who could take over. The first is COO Brian Krzanich. Then there is CFO Stacy Smith and software head Renee James. The fact that one of them could get it has been seen as likely. Intel has never filled its top post with an executive from outside.
There is also the risk that if either of them do not get the job, there is a good chance that one or all of them might leave for greener pastures.
Indeed, as late as December, Otellini said picking an insider was the most likely outcome.
But something seems to have changed in Intel's official statements on the matter.
SpokesIntel Laura Anderson insisted that no candidate has the inside track, and the board will be equally looking at internal and external candidates.
Word on the street is that the board is thinking the company's failure to make much headway in new markets under current management might mean that there is a need for fresh blood at the top.