Intel CEO Bob Swan is stepping down from the position on February 15th, the company has announced. He will be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Swan was named Intel’s permanent CEO two years ago in January 2019. He initially took on the role on an interim basis in June 2018 following the resignation of Intel’s previous CEO Brian Krzanich.
They need a Lisa Su.
Even Lisa Su wouldn’t be able to do a thing to steer the ship around if she wants to farm out chip production to TSMC but several factions within Intel struggle to keep Intel designs exclusive to Intel’s foundries. Or vice-versa (you never know). Intel’s current position is not an easy position for any company to be in, since Intel’s foundries have traditionally been the company’s biggest strength and a major differentiator from AMD until very recently. There is fear inside Intel that if the company decides to take a bite of that sweet TSMC silicon, management will gradually divest the foundries to enjoy short-term gains, which could possibly mean layoffs (and resulting managerial friction) and a loss of the company’s main differentiator in the long-term.
Intel hasn’t faced such a pivotal moment ever since they walked away from the memory business. With the difference that the current situation is not as clear-cut as it was back then. You see, Andy Grove’s decision was easy: Memory was becoming increasingly commodified, so they walked away. Have the foundries become commoditized? And if yes, why are there only two companies on cutting-edge nodes?
Meanwhile Intel is stuck with “pale male and stale” cut-and-paste executive reshuffles and purple faced internal factional warfare on an elevator to hell. Going down.