Renée James, the second-most senior executive at chip giant Intel, is stepping down to look for a CEO job elsewhere, the company said.
James will stay on during a transition period until January, the company said. She was named president in May of 2013 alongside CEO Brian Krzanich after the pair made an unusual joint pitch to the company’s board of directors following the retirement of former CEO Paul Otellini.
“When Brian and I were appointed to our current roles, I knew then that being the leader of a company was something that I desired as part of my own leadership journey. Now is the right time for me to take that next step,” James said in a message distributed internally to Intel employees.
James had been a distant contender for the CEO job in late 2012 when Otellini announced his surprise retirement. She had been chairman of the McAfee security software division that Intel acquired in 2011 as well of Wind River Systems, another software acquisition, and had long been the point person on Intel’s relationship with Microsoft.
She teamed up with Krzanich, a veteran Intel manufacturing exec, who had just been named to the COO job in early 2012 when the CEO job came open. Their joint pitch as a CEO-and-president combo initially surprised the board of directors if only because it was unusual. They presented a unified strategic vision for attacking both the mobile and wearables markets that won the board over. Though it dominates the markets for chips that go into PCs and servers, Intel has failed to significantly penetrate the market for smartphones and its efforts in winning business in the nascent market for wearables have yet to bear significant fruit.
James’ departure shakes up the perennial Intel CEO succession race that inevitably remains. Krzanich is now only two years into the job and is likely to remain at the helm for the foreseeable future barring a significant crisis in the company’s business.
Yet were the CEO job to become open sooner rather than later, internal contenders include CFO Stacy Smith, who succeeded the chipmaker’s longtime CFO, and now-chairman Andy Bryant. Also in the running is Diane Bryant, a former Intel CIO and currently a senior VP and head of its data center group, which at $14 billion is the chip company’s second largest business unit, but also its most profitable.
Intel also announced that Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital, the company’s venture capital arm, will retire in January after 35 years in numerous roles. Wendell Brooks, the current head of mergers and acquisitions, will add Intel Capital to his portfolio.
Intel also announced two other departures: Hermann Eul, a corporate VP and general manager running the mobile and communications group, and Mike Bell, a corporate VP and general manager of the new devices group, will both leave the company.
Intel promoted Aicha Evans, a general manager in the Communications and Devices Group, to run its mobility strategy and Josh Walden, a general manager in its New Technology Group, to run product and research efforts in areas like wearable computing.
The company also announced a change in its corporate structure. Its Intel Security unit, made up primarily of McAfee, the security software company it acquired for $7.7 billion in 2010, has been fully integrated, reporting up to general manager Chris Young.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.