Paul Otellini, Haas graduate and former CEO of Intel, dies at 66

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Paul S. Otellini, former chief executive officer at Intel and a UC Berkeley Haas School of Business graduate, died Monday at the age of 66.

Otellini served as Intel’s CEO from 2005 until his retirement in 2013. During his tenure, Intel generated more revenue than it had in the company’s previous 45 years, according to a statement on Intel’s website.

After joining Intel in 1974, Otellini worked in sales and marketing and held several other positions before becoming the company’s first CEO without a background in engineering. According to colleagues, Otellini’s marketing experience guided his business style.

“His marketing mindset was reflected in his relentless focus on the customer, and it served him well,” said Haas dean Richard Lyons, who knew Otellini personally, in an email.

Otellini graduated from Haas with an MBA in 1974. He remained connected with the business school as a member of the Haas School Board, and he and his wife Sandy contributed $1 million toward a classroom in the school’s Chou Hall, which opened this fall.

Otellini was named Haas’ Business Leader of the Year in 2006 for his “ability to lead and to inspire a global workforce, and for his unwavering commitment to conducting business with integrity,” according to the Haas website.

During Otellini’s tenure as CEO, Intel grew in sales from $34 billion to $53 billion. In 2005, the company partnered with Apple, which began using Intel technology in its Macintosh computer line.

While Otellini was in charge, Intel expanded its presence in the market for chips used in data centers — chips that companies such as Facebook and Google rely on for data storage. Intel now dominates that market. Those who worked under Otellini credited his leadership for the company’s success during this time.

“Paul’s business acumen, optimism and dedication fueled our growth throughout his tenure as CEO,” said Intel chairman Andy Bryant in a statement on the company’s website. “His tireless drive, discipline and humility were cornerstones of his leadership and live on in our company values to this day.”

Despite the company’s successful partnership with Apple under Otellini, Intel failed to cash in on the smartphone boom. When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, Otellini underestimated the demand for smartphones that the iPhone would usher in and found Apple’s asking price too high.

“We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it,” Otellini told the Atlantic in a 2013 interview. “And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it.”

In a tweet released Tuesday, current Intel CEO Brian Krzanich called Otellini “a good man and leader” and emphasized that he inspired “great things” in the company.

“We lost a member of our Intel family yesterday, when Paul Otellini passed away,” Krzanich said in the tweet.

After his retirement, Otellini dedicated time to philanthropy, according to a statement on Intel’s website. Otellini mentored young people and was involved with several charitable organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.

Otellini is survived by his wife Sandy, his son Patrick and his daughter Alexis.

Contact Sam Levin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.

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