Roundtable with Paul S. Otellini

February 25, 2010  • Nayna Rizk

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini discusses the economy, innovation, and education at an Intel Innovation Economy Roundtable.

“A lot of the best engineers in China are from MIT,” said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini as he emphasized the need to retain the best math and science minds in the world. They are the “lifeblood of our company.” Speaking at an Innovation Economy Roundtable, a partnership between the Institute and Intel, Otellini stressed the connection between high-level math and science innovators and the nation’s GDP. He also expressed concern that United States may no longer be a “magnet for great innovative companies.”

Participating in the discussion were FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, “The NewsHour”’s Judy Woodruff, and Amb. Elizabeth Bagley, the State Department’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships, Global Partnership Initiative. Fielding questions from all of them, Otellini engaged on topics ranging from the need for widespread broadband infrastructure (“It’s like having an electric car with no roads”) to China’s growing economic power (“Japan was just the warm-up for the real game: China. … There are more English speakers in China than there are Americans!”). But Otellini was particularly focused on driving the changes necessary to fix the economy—and fast. Specifically, Otellini worried that the Obama administration was too distracted by issues like health care and energy, saying that fixing the economy should take priority over all other legislative issues right now. “I’m worried that, by the time we wake up from this crisis, we’ll be in the abyss,” he said.