Intel CEO Bob Swan stepping down after two years

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Pat Gelsinger will replace Bob Swan as Intel's CEO.
Image: Wikimedia Commons | Web Summit

Intel, one of the chip industry’s biggest players, is about to have a new CEO. Current executive Bob Swan is stepping down after two years in the role, the company announced on Wednesday. Long-time industry veteran Pat Gelsinger, the current CEO of VMware, will replace him on February 15.

It’s worth noting that the shift isn’t due to Intel’s financial performance. The company is on a strong path forward and is making good progress with its 7nm technology. While it hasn’t yet released its full-year 2020 financial results, they are expected to be positive.

Veteran Experience

When Swan steps down next month, Intel will be in good hands with Gelsinger at the helm. He is highly respected in the tech world and has more than four decades of experience. That includes 30 years of service at Intel, where he started his career.

Omar Ishrak, independent chairman of the Intel board, says, “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.”

Gelsinger, meanwhile, noted, “I am thrilled to rejoin and lead Intel forward at this important time for the company, our industry and our nation. 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.”

Technical Prowess

It will be interesting to see how this change affects Intel as it aims to compete with companies like AMD and Apple in the coming years. Indeed, these firms are making a strong push to dethrone Intel from its place as king of the chip industry. Whether or not the long-time industry leader will be able to step up to the challenge remains to be seen.

An interesting thing to note is that Intel was frequently criticized for Swan’s financial background. That isn’t the case for Gelsinger. He served as the company’s first CTO and has a vast set of technical skills and industry knowledge.

It appears that the markets are in favor of the shake-up. In the wake of Intel’s announcement, the company’s stock rose by about 10 percent. That’s largely due to Gelsinger’s background and hopes that he will help Intel dominate its competitors once again.

Later, The Wall Street Journal reported that Swan’s departure may be related to an activist hedge fund known as Third Point LLC that has called for sweeping changes within the company.

Despite this odd news, it appears that those close to the situation believe there is a bright future ahead for Intel. In a statement, Ishrak said, “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.”

This news has made 2021 a lot more interesting for Intel. It’s worth keeping an eye on the company as the transition happens in February and as the year progresses.

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