Former Intel CEO Paul Otellini died in his sleep Monday at the age of 66, and he will be remembered not only as the business leader who oversaw a nearly $20 billion sales boost during his tenure, but also as a chief executive who always made the customer’s needs a priority.
“He was the relentless voice of the customer in a sea of engineers, and he taught us that we only win when we put the customer first,” current Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.
Otellini joined Intel in 1974 and rose through the ranks over the decades, serving as executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, and as executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Sales and Marketing Group before taking over as chief operating officer from 2002 to 2005.
He was named Intel’s fifth CEO in 2005, and oversaw an unprecedented period of growth for the chipmaker. The year before he took the reins, Intel had $34 billion in sales—a figure that rose to $53 billion by the time he stepped down in 2012. According to Intel, the company generated more revenue during Otellini’s stint as CEO than it did during the company’s prior 45 years. Working out a partnership deal with Apple Inc. to bring Intel’s chips into to Mac computers was just one highlight of Otellini’s time as Intel CEO.
Otellini retired in 2013, but still served on the board of directors of Google parent company Alphabet, Inc., chairing the company’s Leadership Development and Compensation Committee.
“Paul’s business acumen, optimism and dedication fueled our growth throughout his tenure as CEO,” Intel Chairman Andy Bryant said in a statement. “His tireless drive, discipline and humility were cornerstones of his leadership and live on in our company values to this day.”