Intel’s big week: Where’s the CEO?

August 18, 2008, 11:44 AM UTC
Intel CEO Paul Otellini will miss IDF because of his sabbatical. Photo: Intel

It’s Intel’s biggest event of the year. So where’s the CEO?

That was my first question when I took a close look at the agenda for this week’s Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, where the world’s largest chipmaker rallies the technology industry behind its products and previews its roadmap. Paul Otellini was nowhere to be found. Was he off closing a big business deal? Is there trouble with Intel’s board of directors?

Neither, an Intel spokesperson tells me. Otellini is merely on sabbatical, a perk employees earn for every seven years of service. (He took four of his eight weeks of sabbatical leave last year, and is taking the other four now.) Intel Chairman Craig Barrett will give Tuesday’s IDF opening keynote instead.

I also found it odd that Sean Maloney, an Intel executive vice president who’s widely seen as a potential Otellini successor, won’t be at IDF either. I’m told he’s in China at the Olympics. In the absence of these two, senior vice president Pat Gelsinger will handle many of the nuts-and-bolts questions about operations.

Two conspicuous absences, two solid explanations. But if the company makes big purchases or executive moves anytime soon, Intel watchers may reflect on this IDF agenda differently.