Intel CEO Bob Swan is stepping down, will be replaced by VMware boss Pat Gelsinger

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,062   +130
Staff member
What just happened? Intel on the third day of CES 2021 revealed that Bob Swan will be stepping down as chief executive officer next month. Intel said the announcement is unrelated to the company’s 2020 financial performance, adding that it expects fourth quarter revenue and earnings per share to exceed prior guidance.

Swan assumed the role of interim CEO following the resignation of Brian Krzanich in June 2018 after Intel learned of a consensual relationship Krzanich had with an Intel employee. Following a seven-month search, Intel’s board removed the interim tag and Swan officially became the seventh CEO in the company’s history.

Swan will be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, “a proven technology leader with a distinguished track record of innovation, talent development, and a deep knowledge of Intel,” said Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board.

Gelsinger, the first ever chief technology officer for Intel, worked with the company for nearly 30 years before leaving in 2009 to take a job at EMC. Since 2012, he has served as the CEO of VMware. The software company is now searching for its next leader and has appointed Zane Rowe to serve as its interim CEO.

The last couple of years have been pretty bumpy for Intel. After pulling way ahead of rival AMD, the company seemingly got too content with its lead and eased its foot off the accelerator a bit. This gave AMD the leeway it needed to make a surprising comeback with its Ryzen line of CPUs. Combine that with manufacturing issues and Apple’s recent move to custom Arm-based silicon and it’s clear to see why Intel wants to go in a different direction.

At CES 2021 this week, Intel previewed its 11th gen Intel Core i9-11900K CPU.

Swan will pass the baton to Gelsinger on February 15, 2021. Intel share value is up more than eight percent on the news as of writing.

Image credit SiliconAngel, Michael Vi

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poohbear

Posts: 612   +517
Finally! but it took Intel years to be in this mess, and they're not just gonna suddenly do an about turn...it's gonna take a while to turn things around. Geslinger, the new CEO, has some incredible engineering experience and credentials, so it certainly looks good for Intel. If he can do for Intel what Lisa Su did for AMD, then Intel will eventually come back on top.

Great to see such an iconic tech company have good leadership again.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,350   +2,162
Finally! but it took Intel years to be in this mess, and they're not just gonna suddenly do an about turn...it's gonna take a while to turn things around. Geslinger, the new CEO, has some incredible engineering experience and credentials, so it certainly looks good for Intel. If he can do for Intel what Lisa Su did for AMD, then Intel will eventually come back on top.

Great to see such an iconic tech company have good leadership again.

You say it as if that‘s a positive. I would have much preferred if they‘d picked Raja or Ryan Shrout instead.

 

Tom Yum

Posts: 85   +205
Finally! but it took Intel years to be in this mess, and they're not just gonna suddenly do an about turn...it's gonna take a while to turn things around. Geslinger, the new CEO, has some incredible engineering experience and credentials, so it certainly looks good for Intel. If he can do for Intel what Lisa Su did for AMD, then Intel will eventually come back on top.

Great to see such an iconic tech company have good leadership again.
Remember, Brian Krzanich was the CEO before Swan and an experienced engineer as well, and under his leadership intel made many missteps that lead to the problems experienced today (not foreseeing the rise of mobile computing being the biggest, but also their manufacturing issues started to manifest under his leadership). Remember, Dirk Meyer was a very experienced engineer also at AMD, and he was a terrible CEO (he basically mapped out the Bulldozer/Bobcat strategy that excluded high performance mobile, effectively handing the mobile market to Intel for a decade. Also sold Imageon to Qualcomm for pennies that led to Adreno).

Pat Gelsinger, whilst having a key role in 386 and Pentium Pro (big pluses), also played a key role in the introduction of Netburst architecture, Larabee and was directly responsible for the RDRAM fiasco at the start of the P4 era. So early brilliance, but his former Intel career ended in a number of significant missteps.

Point is, highly experienced and distinguished engineers don't always make good leaders, in fact I would say they more often than not don't. One of Lisa Su's calibre is rare, and shouldn't be taken as 'put an engineer in charge of tech firm = automatic success'.
 

poohbear

Posts: 612   +517
Remember, Brian Krzanich was the CEO before Swan and an experienced engineer as well, and under his leadership intel made many missteps that lead to the problems experienced today (not foreseeing the rise of mobile computing being the biggest, but also their manufacturing issues started to manifest under his leadership). Remember, Dirk Meyer was a very experienced engineer also at AMD, and he was a terrible CEO (he basically mapped out the Bulldozer/Bobcat strategy that excluded high performance mobile, effectively handing the mobile market to Intel for a decade. Also sold Imageon to Qualcomm for pennies that led to Adreno).

Pat Gelsinger, whilst having a key role in 386 and Pentium Pro (big pluses), also played a key role in the introduction of Netburst architecture, Larabee and was directly responsible for the RDRAM fiasco at the start of the P4 era. So early brilliance, but his former Intel career ended in a number of significant missteps.

Point is, highly experienced and distinguished engineers don't always make good leaders, in fact I would say they more often than not don't. One of Lisa Su's calibre is rare, and shouldn't be taken as 'put an engineer in charge of tech firm = automatic success'.

very good points, but he's also coming from a CEO position @ VMware, so he already has extensive managerial experience not just engineering. Time will tell, lets see what intel brings in the next couple of years. The good thing is competition is back, which is the best environment for innovation...and consumer prices.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,350   +2,162
very good points, but he's also coming from a CEO position @ VMware, so he already has extensive managerial experience not just engineering. Time will tell, lets see what intel brings in the next couple of years. The good thing is competition is back, which is the best environment for innovation...and consumer prices.

For true competition to be back (long term), Intel still needs to be reduced in size financially. Really don‘t want a repeat of the Athlon situation where Intel kept AMD out of the markets using their financial horsepower until they had a competitive product. We all know what happened then in terms of innovation.

Once Intel has to compete purely on their products‘ technical merit and reliability as a partner / ability to deliver is when we have a true competitive market.

As long as they can use their financial strength to limit GPU or screen options for their competitors‘ products, it‘s not.
 

mosu

Posts: 553   +193
very good points, but he's also coming from a CEO position @ VMware, so he already has extensive managerial experience not just engineering. Time will tell, lets see what intel brings in the next couple of years. The good thing is competition is back, which is the best environment for innovation...and consumer prices.
Only if the extensive managerial experience does not mean continuing bribing policy. Even the fact that Intel will buy wafers from TSMC is a limiting factor for AMD.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,107   +1,236
TechSpot Elite
Finally! but it took Intel years to be in this mess, and they're not just gonna suddenly do an about turn...it's gonna take a while to turn things around. Geslinger, the new CEO, has some incredible engineering experience and credentials, so it certainly looks good for Intel. If he can do for Intel what Lisa Su did for AMD, then Intel will eventually come back on top.

Great to see such an iconic tech company have good leadership again.
When was the last time that they had "good leadership"? For that matter, what's your definition of "good leadership"?

We're talking about a company that engaged in criminal activities and was too arrogant to even try to help the European Commission conduct their investigation (Which is why they got beyotch-slapped by the EC). Furthermore, for the entire time that they were at this (and it looks like they might be at it again) they were sandbagging people and fleecing them for little incremental increases in performance.

Intel hasn't had "good leadership" since before the 80386 was released. That's when they violated their licencing agreement with AMD. Is it any surprise that Intel has NEVER won a court case against AMD? It's because Intel was always the one who was up to no good. That's not my definition of "good leadership". I don't know about you but I do NOT want another six-year period in tech that mirrors 2011-2016 again and it looks like Intel might be trying for exactly that. There has been some rumours (out of Lenovo I think) that Intel's kickbacks make AMD CPUs untenable in the laptop space.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,806   +1,038
Finally! but it took Intel years to be in this mess, and they're not just gonna suddenly do an about turn...it's gonna take a while to turn things around. Geslinger, the new CEO, has some incredible engineering experience and credentials, so it certainly looks good for Intel. If he can do for Intel what Lisa Su did for AMD, then Intel will eventually come back on top.

Great to see such an iconic tech company have good leadership again.
Between Boeing in the 90s (when it was 100% run by the engineers - it has been run by bean counters since the MD merger), Lisa Su at AMD, plus a few other less notable examples, I have come to the conclusion that a tech company needs technology people in control of the decision making process at all levels. Too many people who have an MBA or BA, and think that alone makes them qualified to run any company under the sun.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,107   +1,236
TechSpot Elite
Between Boeing in the 90s (when it was 100% run by the engineers - it has been run by bean counters since the MD merger), Lisa Su at AMD, plus a few other less notable examples, I have come to the conclusion that a tech company needs technology people in control of the decision making process at all levels. Too many people who have an MBA or BA, and think that alone makes them qualified to run any company under the sun.
Agreed! No quasi-relevant degree can replace real industry experience. Every industry has little idiosyncrasies that can make or break a business but are not always apparent. The ability to read a balance sheet does not a good CEO make.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,806   +1,038
Agreed! No quasi-relevant degree can replace real industry experience. Every industry has little idiosyncrasies that can make or break a business but are not always apparent. The ability to read a balance sheet does not a good CEO make.
Its like that old "oiler drillers in space problem". Is it easier to train astronauts to drill, or drillers to be astronauts? I think we all know the answer to that problem.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,107   +1,236
TechSpot Elite
Its like that old "oiler drillers in space problem". Is it easier to train astronauts to drill, or drillers to be astronauts? I think we all know the answer to that problem.
Yep. The problem is that they don't bother training the astronauts to drill. They just throw them up there thinking "They're astronauts, they'll figure it out." which of course never ends up happening and all hell breaks loose. :D