Former Intel Corporation President Renee James Joins Oracle’s board

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Intel highest-ranking female executive, Renee James, has now joined Oracle’s board, the company announced on Wednesday. James left the chip maker in July. With James joining, Oracle’s board strength now increases to 13 directors.

James was next in-line for Intel CEO?

James joining Oracle does not come as a surprise as Intel and Oracle have been partners for a long time, and James was a regular speaker at Oracle’s annual customer conference. There have been regular rumors of James as the next potential candidate for Intel’s CEO. While she was at the chip maker, James was the number two executive only after current CEO Brian Krzanich. James has been a good support to Krzanich in leading some painful changes such as layoffs and implementing changes in the employees’ pay and bonus structures.

After she left, both James and Krzanich said it will free her to look for a CEO role somewhere else. Though she has not been named CEO yet, joining the boards of a big firm is often seen as an important step in that direction. Padmasree Warrior, who previously worked with the CEO, joined Microsoft’s board recently. And this week, she has been named as the U.S. CEO of NextEV – a Chinese electric vehicle startup.

PC trends positive for the next few months

Meanwhile, Citigroup’s Chris Danely reiterated the firm’s Neutral rating on Intel with a price target of $34 in a report issued on Tuesday. Danely notes that the recent data on notebook computer sales indicates “firming” trends in PCs. Though it is positive for the chip maker, Danely says there is nothing to be excited about beyond that.

Citing the work of his colleague William Yang, Danely says notebook sales by original design manufacturers, or ODMs, was up 10% in November versus a drop of 23% in October. However, the analyst notes that beyond the first quarter 2016, he “can’t see anything past that – more downside than upside for our taste.” Danely says the PC market will be relatively stable for the next few months, and so will be Intel stock. But he is not confident on if the PC market will improve or remain stable after the 1Q16.

“As a result, we see upside of 10% to INTC stock if the PC market improves and downside of 20%+ if it regresses,” Danely says.

On Wednesday, Intel shares closed up 0.34% at $35.30. Year to date, the stock is down by almost 3%, while in the last one month, it is up by almost 10%.

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