Coverage: Intel names its interim CEO to the permanent role
Intel Corp.’s stock slid Thursday after the chipmaker named interim CEO Robert Swan to the position permanently, ending a months-long search following the ouster of Brian Krzanich for what it called a “consensual relationship” with an employee.
Jordan Novet and Sara Salinas of CNBC.com had the news:
Swan, 58, has been interim CEO for seven months and chief financial officer since 2016. He was also elected to the board, the company said. Several media outlets including Bloomberg previously reported Swan didn’t want the job.
Shares of Intel fell roughly as much as 3 percent in Thursday, before paring losses to close less than 1 percent down.
In a brief interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt after the announcement, Swan said he wasn’t initially interested in the job, but two things changed.
“I went from loving my day job to loving the company,” Swan told Fortt. “The second thing: I was asked.”
Therese Poletti of MarketWatch.com reported that the bean counters are in charge of Intel:
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, noted that with the naming of Swan, Intel’s new leader and its board has more of a financial than technological focus. Andy Bryant, the company’s chairman, served as Intel’s CFO for several years before his role was expanded, and the current board of directors also includes Gregory Smith, currently CFO at Boeing Co. Only two of Intel’s nine board members have engineering backgrounds.
“Now, you have three people focused on no one making mistakes or taking risks,” Enderle said. “It’s like having a car with not enough engine and too much braking. It’s not going to go anyplace either. It’s going to be treading water.”
Heading up one of the world’s largest chip makers, infamous for its aggressive, dog-eat-dog corporate culture, appeared to be an unappealing job for many. One former top executive, VMware Inc. VMW, +3.20% CEO Pat Gelsinger, who was in the running for the job when the board chose Krzanich, tweeted early in the process that he was happy at VMware and would not go anywhere.
Steven Tweedle of Business Insider reported that Intel has been known to hire from within:
Intel is known for hiring from within when choosing a CEO, but since Krzanich’s departure, it was unclear whether the company would continue with tradition or go with an outside hire. In all all-hands meeting, Swan, already acting as interim CEO at the time, even went as far as to tell Intel employees that he wouldn’t be floating his name for consideration to keep the role, Bloomberg reported in June.
Another potential candidate, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, went on the record saying he wasn’t planning to leave VMware. Gelsinger, who had worked at Intel for 30 years before leaving, was rumored to be in the running to be Intel’s sixth CEO, but Krzanich was ultimately chosen.
Now, Swan is taking over as Intel’s seventh CEO at a time when the company is battling to regain market share as it leans into the next generation of smaller, faster chips.
“In my role as interim CEO, I’ve developed an even deeper understanding of Intel’s opportunities and challenges, our people and our customers,” Swan said in a statement announcing the decision. “When I was first named interim CEO, I was immediately focused on running the company and working with our customers. When the board approached me to take on the role permanently, I jumped at the chance to lead this special company.