News is breaking that Intel has announced that Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMWare, is to take the role of CEO at Intel from February 15th.

Intel today has released a press statement saying that current CEO Bob Swan (who we interviewed only a few days ago!) is to step down in his role, and be succeeded by Pat Gelsinger. Gelsinger, a veteran of the industry, has spent over 40 years at companies such as VMWare, EMC, and spent 30 years previously at Intel, reaching the potisition of Chief Technology Officer. In that role he drove creation of standards such as USB, Wi-Fi, he was the architect of the 80486, and played key roles in 14 generations of Intel Core and Xeon processors. As CEO of VMWare since 2012, Pat has overseen a tripling of annualized revenue to make VMWare a recognized global leader in global infrastructure and cyber security.

Rumors of Intel getting a new CEO have never died down, even since Bob Swan officially took the role from Brian Krzanich in January 2019. Through those two years, Swan has seen successive YoY growth in the companies revenue streams, as well as a turnover of high-profile technical personnel, such as Dr. Murthy Renduchintala. The goal has seemingly been to push Intel into more areas for TAM growth, while at the same time push through the fundamental issues surrounding the delays to manufacturing on the 10nm node, which has been delayed for a couple of years at this point, and the 7nm node, to which delays were announced more recently. The missing piece of the puzzle has been having an engineer at the top of Intel's food chain, particularly one well versed in Intel's product portfolio, and for those that wanted this to happen, it appears to be so, from February 15th.

Bob Swan will still head the Intel financial call on January 21st, where the company is set to announce how it will approach its future process node strategy, namely 7nm, in light of recent delays. This call should indicate how much Intel is set to invest in its own manufacturing facilities, and how much it may offload to third party foundries during that timeframe. During our interview with Bob Swan, he mentioned that Intel would only work with third party foundries if it could get preferential treatment for the volumes it needed, as well as integration with all related design tools. Swan also stated that licensing a process node technology from someone else for use in Intel's fabs was also an option the company could be considering.  No word has been given as to Bob's future, if this is retirement from Intel, or what future role he may play.

On the new CEO news, the chairman of the board at Intel, Omar Ishrak, has said,

“The board and I deeply appreciate Bob Swan for his leadership and significant contributions through this period of transformation for Intel,” continued Ishrak. “Under his leadership, Intel has made significant progress on its strategy to transform into a multi-architecture XPU company to capitalize on market shifts and extend Intel’s reach into fast-growing markets. Bob has also been instrumental in reenergizing the company’s culture to drive better execution of our product and innovation roadmap. He leaves Intel in a strong strategic and financial position, and we thank him for his ongoing guidance as he works with Pat to ensure the leadership transition is seamless.”

On the announcement, Pat Gelsigner has said,

“I am thrilled to rejoin and lead Intel forward at this important time for the company, our industry and our nation,” said Gelsinger. “Having begun my career at Intel and learned at the feet of Grove, Noyce and Moore, it’s my privilege and honor to return in this leadership capacity. I have tremendous regard for the company’s rich history and powerful technologies that have created the world’s digital infrastructure. I believe Intel has significant potential to continue to reshape the future of technology and look forward to working with the incredibly talented global Intel team to accelerate innovation and create value for our customers and shareholders.”

Gelsinger is set to oversee the next generation of Intel products and manufacturing. This includes 10nm, 7nm, Alder Lake, future Lakes, Sapphire Rapids, discrete graphics, Ponte Vecchio, networking, packaging, IoT, infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and 5G compute.

It is unclear at this time if Gelsinger will be a voice on the financial call on January 21st. $INTC is already up +9% on the news of the new CEO today (as of 9:54am ET).

Source: Intel

Pat Gelsinger in his CTO role, with Intel Itanium 2


Update: Gelsinger has released a note to Intel employees. It reads as follows.

I am thrilled and humbled to be returning to Intel as CEO. I was 18 years old when I joined Intel, fresh out of the Lincoln Technical Institute. Over the next 30 years of my tenure at Intel, I had the honor to be mentored at the feet of Grove, Noyce and Moore. Intel then helped me continue my education at Santa Clara University and Stanford University. The company also gave me the opportunity to work on the forefront of silicon innovation with the best and brightest talent in the industry.
My experience at Intel has shaped my entire career, and I am forever grateful to this company. To come back “home” to Intel in the role of CEO during what is such a critical time for innovation, as we see the digitization of everything accelerating, will be the greatest honor of my career.
I have tremendous regard for the company’s rich history and the powerful technologies created here that have transformed, and continue to transform, the world’s digital infrastructure. We have incredible talent and remarkable technical expertise that is the envy of the industry.
I look forward to working with all of you to continue to shape the future of technology. While Intel’s history is rich, the transformation from a CPU to multi-architecture XPU company is exciting and our opportunity as a world-leading semiconductor manufacturer is greater than it’s ever been. I will be sharing more in the near-term about my vision and strategy for Intel, but I know we can continue to accelerate innovation, strengthen our core business and create value for our shareholders, customers and employees.
I want to extend my gratitude to Bob for his leadership and significant contributions to Intel through this critical period of transformation. I welcome his counsel and ongoing guidance through the transition period to make it as seamless as possible for our customers and all of you.
I’m sure you will have many questions about what is to come, and I look forward to hearing them, even if I won’t have all the answers on day one. I can’t wait to resume this journey with all of you.
– Pat


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  • Spunjji - Friday, January 15, 2021 - link

    @JKflipflop98 - They don't use EUV anywhere in their manufacturing, so what's your point?
  • JKflipflop98 - Friday, January 15, 2021 - link

    Yea, actually we do.
  • rahvin - Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - link

    If I was an Intel Investor I'd rather see Intel promote from within their engineering division management.

    But given that I'd rather see an EE from another company with management experience than an MBA financial guy that cant' tell when the process engineers and management are blowing smoke up his skirt.

    Intel's problems lie entirely in on the Fab side, bad decisions on top of bad decisions. When they realized they'd guessed wrong on 10/7nm transistors they should have started over with a size closer to what TMSC picked instead of trying to find a fix for their bad choice. That would have been in 2016 the first time 10nm got delayed, not 5 years later. They knew in 2016 they'd got it wrong and their yields were shit.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - link

    I wonder how much of TSMC's success basically boiled down to the fact that it's all they do, meaning that new process node development is do-or-die.

    Intel has so many engineering activities that senior management and finance weenies can play shell games with budgets, and at all probably looks rather abstract, at that level. But, if you're a foundry, then you know you basically have to spend whatever it takes to get the next process node online ASAP -- even if it means having multiple teams working on it, so there's a potential fallback if one (or more) of them hits snags and setbacks.
  • rahvin - Thursday, January 21, 2021 - link

    Intel is the largest Fab company in the world. They have IIRC around 26 fabs in operation. Intel's failures are much deeper and more complicated and IMO tie much more to management failures than tech failures. If Intel management in 2016 or 2017 had realized the severity of the problem they faced with 10nm they would have stepped back and rebuilt the fab to use better transistor width's rather than trying to fix their bad choice.

    Long story:

    Around 22nm to 16nm the engineers were unable to shrink transistors any more without the quantum effects (tunneling) breaking the transistors. They could continue to shrink the traces, but the transistors had to be raised up out of the die with tech like superfin and the dozens of variants the engineers came up with to retain larger transistors layered in 3D on top of the smaller traces.

    I'm simplifying this greatly, there are some great articles that explain this in much better depth out there from a few years ago. In the move to 10nm (intel)/7nm (TSMC/Samsung), which BTW are approximately the same size, companies had to gamble on the width of the transistor they raised out of the traces. Intel choose a very aggressive size (smaller), Samsung chose a very conservative size (larger) and TSMC picked a size that was somewhere in the middle between the two others. It turned out in the end that the size Intel choose was too small, and it's not s simple fix to just make a bigger one because the entire FAB was designed around this including the equipment, in essence to fix the transistor size they've have to replace a bunch of equipment in the fab and redesign.

    So intel ended up with a process tech that produced huge numbers of non-functional transistors (rumors were only ~10% of dies were viable for the first 10nm, and the ones that worked had to be down clocked). After they realized this in 2016 they tried to apply quick fixes to improve the yields. They attempted the same type of fixes in 2017, 2018 and 2019 rather than going back to the drawing board. The 10nm processors that intel put out in 2020 for a few months still had awful yields (supposedly around 50%). Which is why they quickly abandoned the product and went back to 14nm.

    My understanding is that now that they've blown it for so long screwing around with the 10nm process that 5nm (would be 7nm using Intels definition) is starting to come online that Intel is just going to skip 10nm altogether and move to 7/5nm (Intel will probably call it 5nm like TSMC for marketing reasons)

    The simple answer to Intel's fab failures are a bad choice early on and an unwillingness to admit the mistake and spend the money to rebuild the process from the ground up. This IMO is a major management failure, even though the initial mistake was an engineering one.
  • mode_13h - Thursday, January 21, 2021 - link

    Thanks for the long post. I don't usually get pay much attention to the details of developments in that area, so your simplifications and summary are appreciated.
  • silencer12 - Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - link

    No there not. New CEO is not in yet. We also have no idea what the new CEO is planning to do.
  • drexnx - Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - link

    lets see if an engineer can right that ship...
  • TouchdownTom9 - Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - link

    I assume this man has a strong background as an engineer, right?
  • Hulk - Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - link

    He's a super-genius. Read about him.

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