09:10 AM

Meet Intel's King Makers - A Truly Exemplary Board Of Directors

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Intel's secret ace-in-the hole is that it has one of the world's top board of directors (above), a diverse and independent group of leaders – an exemplary example of corporate governance of the highest order. It scored a perfect ten by GovernanceMetrics International. Only 21 other boards have received this highest recognition, out of more than 2100 global corporations.

It's a board currently under tremendous pressure, and has just days to prove itself to shareholders, in one of the most important decisions it will ever make. 

UPDATED:May 2 - Intel chose to split the Chief Executive office and appointed Brian Krzanich as CEO and Renee James as President.

Who will be Intel's new CEO?

They have to find a new leader for the world's largest chipmaker and the provider of virtually all of the world's business computational logic. It's an important choice that will affect far more people than Intel's shareholders. A mid-May deadline is looming.

Sudden times…

It's a tough job made tougher by Paul Otellini's sudden resignation as CEO, nearly six months ago. Mr Otellini's replacement would have likely been Sean Maloney, if not for a stroke in 2010. It's unusual for Intel not to have one or more CEO candidates in the wings, groomed over decades and weaned on its unique internal culture.

I've suggested that it choose two CEOs because of the importance of its new chip foundry business. Plus, Intel has used "two-in-a-box" senior executive appointments in the past, why not extend it to the CEO position?

After all, with two throats to choke there's double to blame and double the motivation in the C-suite. It works well for SAP.

Michael Kanellos, a long-time Intel watcher, thinks Intel should split into two separate businesses

Andrew Grove, former Intel CEO and Chairman, spent several years in the mid- 2000s, on a mission to remake Intel's board, making sure it was truly independent, and packed with diversity. Intel is one of few large tech firms that separates CEO and Chairman positions. His goal was to build a world-class advisory group for the CEO, and a strong belief that great corporate governance would yield good things for Intel's shareholders. It's an investment that has yet to receive its proper valuation by Wall Street. The board now has an excellent chance to prove itself with its choice of CEO.

Brent Schlender at Fortune, has written an excellent feature on Intel's "Grove" board:

[Grove] decided that directors needed to get out of the boardroom and see firsthand how Intel operates. Each director is now required to visit at least one, and preferably two or three, Intel sites each year. Afterward he is expected to report back to the board. "These aren't 'what I did on my summer vacation' reports," says [John] Thornton [Goldman-Sachs]. "We're expected to tell the board, and even management, something they don't know."

Inside Andy Grove's Latest Crusade Intel's chairman is out to change the way companies are governed. His first job: Change himself.

 Meet the current board (via Intel):

With the exception of Jane Shaw, center, who retired from Intel’s board of directors in 2012, these are the people choosing the next Intel CEO.

Front row (left to right):

- James Plummer, John M. Fluke Professor of Electrical Engineering and Frederick E. Terman Dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford University. On the board since 2009.

- Frank Yeary, principal of private investment and advisory firm Darwin Capital Advisors. On the board since 2009.

- Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, senior international partner at law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. On the board since 2004.

- John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay. On the board since 2009.

Back row (left to right):

- David Yoffie, Max and Doris Starr professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School. On the board since 1989.

- Susan Decker, principal of consulting and advisory firm Deck3 Ventures. On the board since 2006.

- Reed Hundt, CEO of the non-profit Coalition for Green Capital and the principal of strategic advice firm REH Advisors. On the board since 2001.

- Andy Bryant, board chairman and a member since 2011.

- Jane Shaw, former board chair (2009-2012). She joined the board in 1993 and retired in 2012.

- Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel. On the board since 2002. 

- David Pottruck, chairman and CEO of private equity firm Red Eagle Ventures. On the board since 2009.