Intel has announced VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will replace Bob Swan as CEO, effective February 15.
Intel has been struggling in recent years, facing a host of problems. It has witnessed the rise of Arm-based chips, used in everything from phones to computers. AMD, a rival that historically has lagged behind Intel, has been resurgent, releasing chips that have challenged Intel’s core business. In addition to external threats, the company has faced internal problems, including the loss of leading chip engineers, “unfixable” security issues and ongoing production problems.
Intel’s troubles even lead the Third Point hedge fund to pen a letter to Intel, demanding changes to address the problems. Swan indicated a willingness to work with Third Point on potential solutions.
Intel has now announced a change in its top leadership, bringing Gelsinger onboard to replace Swan. Gelsinger is widely seen as one of the best choices to lead the company. He is a 30-year Intel veteran, giving him invaluable experience and insight into company culture. Most recently, he has served as CEO of VMware since 2012, leading that company to some of its greatest successes.
“Pat is a proven technology leader with a distinguished track record of innovation, talent development, and a deep knowledge of Intel. He will continue a values-based cultural leadership approach with a hyper focus on operational execution,” said Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board. “After careful consideration, the board concluded that now is the right time to make this leadership change to draw on Pat’s technology and engineering expertise during this critical period of transformation at Intel. The board is confident that Pat, together with the rest of the leadership team, will ensure strong execution of Intel’s strategy to build on its product leadership and take advantage of the significant opportunities ahead as it continues to transform from a CPU to a multi-architecture XPU company.”
“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 has a big challenge ahead of him, as he tries to turn things around at the beleaguered chipmaker. It remains to be seen if he will be successful, although he certainly has the background and experience to have a fighting chance.