Intel Boss Craig Barrett Quits the Chip Biz While Still Ahead

We're sorry to learn that our new friend Intel chairman Craig Barrett plans to retire this summer after 35 years revolutionizing the microchip and PC industries. He could not be leaving at a worse time.

We're not saying that the Barrett is the only guy who can keep Intel afloat during a global financial meltdown—and analysts don't think this is a problematic transition—but times are tough for the chipmaker. Truth is, we can see why the 69-year-old former Stanford engineering professor, who spent half his life building Intel into the hegemonic enterprise that it is, would decide to step down at this point, and let what he'd call the "bright young talent" struggle with this current worldwide pain in the ass.

Presumably Paul Otellini will stay on as CEO, and boardmember Jane Shaw will become a nonexecutive chairman when Barret leaves in May. Though he did not say what he planned to do, we wish him all the best. For some great color commentary from this fascinating veteran, read Matt Buchanan's interview with Barrett from CES earlier this month, where he distinctly did not mention retirement. [Reuters]