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The return of Pat Gelsinger to Intel as CEO shows the company is serious about solving its biggest problems


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

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On Wednesday, Intel announced that its CEO Bob Swan would step down effective February 15. The company says that Pat Gelsinger, who currently serves as VMware’s CEO, will take his place. That’s good news for Intel, as Gelsinger is likely one of the best people to solve the company’s problems. And, let’s face it, Intel has plenty of problems.

The news comes after a particularly rough year for Intel. The company has suffered a number of delays to its product roadmap, especially its efforts to deliver on promises of smaller, 7-nanometer transistors.

Originally expected to ship chips using that process in 2021, the company said during its second-quarter earnings call that it didn’t expect to ship 7-nanometer chips until 2022 at the earliest. At the same time, it’s just now started to deliver 10-nanometer chips, at a time when Apple is already shipping computers using the 5-nanometer process built on the ARM instruction set.

That’s a problem for a company that’s long been at the forefront of silicon innovation. Now, Intel’s losing its edge and market share to competitors like AMD. Even Microsoft, which has used Intel chips in its own hardware and builds software to run on both Intel and AMD chips, has said it’s exploring producing its own ARM-based chips. 

Gelsinger, who’s served as CEO of VMware since 2012, is a well-respected manager who doubled its revenue during his tenure. In 2019, Gelsinger was named not only the top tech CEO, but the most highly rated overall, according to Glassdoor, which ranks CEOs based on the approval rating of their employees. 

Maybe more importantly, he’s an Intel alum. Not only did he spend 30 years of his career there, he was the architect of the 80468 processor in 1989. During his tenure, he eventually became the company’s first chief technical officer. That gives him a level of credibility with engineers that a finance executive just doesn’t have. 

That credibility will be important considering the myriad challenges the company now faces. For example, Apple announced last summer that it would transition the entire Mac lineup to its own in-house processors, moving away from the Intel chips it’d been using since 2005. The first of those new Macs included the M1 processor, which, despite being included in the lowest-end Macs the company makes, already outperform most of their Intel-processor-based competitors. 

That rough year comes after more than a few scandals that preceded it. The company was rocked by the resignation of its previous CEO, Brian Krzanich, over a relationship with an employee. Before that, it faced two flaws in its processors that affected almost every computer built in the last 20 years. Known as Spectre and Meltdown, Intel worked to patch the bugs, though those fixes led to even more problems, like computers that would no longer boot up.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, Intel’s current manufacturing issues began before Swan took over. The challenge is that he’s a finance guy, not …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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