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