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Intel CEO Bob Swan to Step Down, VMware’s Pat Gelsinger Hired as Replacement

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The engineers are back in charge at Intel.

After just two years in the role, Intel Chief Executive and former Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan will step down effective February 15, the company said in a press release on Wednesday.

Pat Gelsinger, a chip engineer who spent 30 years at Intel but the last eight years at software company VMware, has been appointed the new CEO of Intel.

The chip giant said in a statement that the CEO change wasn’t related to fourth quarter performance. Intel said it expects to top its fourth quarter guidance delivered on October 22. The company added that it “has made strong progress on its 7nm process technology” and will provide an update on Jan. 21 when it reports earnings.

The news, first reported by CNBC, comes as Intel has been struggling with manufacturing issues and competition from the likes of AMD and Nvidia. Intel’s latest-generation chips have seen delays and AMD is gaining in the data center.

In addition, Intel’s market share faces competition from Arm-based processors such as Apple’s M1 chip. In the data center, hyper-scale cloud provider AWS is building out its own custom processors based on Arm.

Gelsinger said in a memo to Intel employees:

I look forward to working with all of you to continue to shape the future of technology. While Intel’s history is rich, the transformation from a CPU to multi-architecture XPU company is exciting and our opportunity as a world-leading semiconductor manufacturer is greater than it’s ever been. I will be sharing more in the near-term about my vision and strategy for Intel, but I know we can continue to accelerate innovation, strengthen our core business and create value for our shareholders, customers and employees.

Gelsinger’s appointment will mark a fascinating shift in the Intel senior leadership. Coming from an all-engineering background, Gelsinger is sure to bring a new technology focus to Intel’s top brass at a time when it’s arguably needed most.

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