Intel CEO Bob Swan to be replaced by VMware CEO next month

Former Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger will take over the company when Swan leaves on 15 February

Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger on stage

Intel has announced that CEO Bob Swan will step down from the company on 15 February, with VMware boss Pat Gelsinger set to return to the company as chief executive officer. 

Swan was named CEO in January 2019, having served as the interim CEO for seven months. 

His time at the helm hasn't been easy, with Intel suffering production delays and a loss of market share to rival AMD. Swan also oversaw the end of Intel's 15-year partnership with Apple, which recently announced plans to use its own proprietary chips in MacBooks.

Critics of Swan have repeatedly pointed out that he lacked the technical expertise for the top job, having previously worked as the company's CFO. This won't be the case with Gelsinger, who served as Intel's chief technology officer before moving to VMware. 

"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 honour to return in this leadership capacity.

"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." 

The CEO change is separate from the company's financial results, it said, with fourth-quarter revenues and earnings expected to exceed prior guidance. "Strong progress" is said to have been made on its 7nm process node, which will surely be the first order of business for Gelsinger when he takes charge. 

Alan Priestly, Gartner's VP of research, told IT Pro that Gelsinger will be "very familiar with the challenges facing Intel's major customers (hardware and software) and their end-customers which will bring some new perspective to Intel's senior management team - some of whom have not had OEM or end-customer experience."

"While we have no detail on what drove the change of CEO, over the past couple of years Bob Swan has been working to broaden Intel's market engagements, expanding its target TAM to a $300M - beyond just PCs and server," Priestly continued.

"This has included new services related business such as mobility-as-a-service (Moovit acquisition, Mobileye partnerships etc). Swan also initiated the divestment of the company's 5G discrete modem and NAND flash businesses both of which had been struggling to be profitable."

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