Intel has unveiled plans to bring on current VMware leader Pat Gelsinger as new CEO, replacing Bob Swan in a significant statement of market intent, effective 15 February.
The move has triggered a global executive search process to name a permanent chief at VMware, with current CFO Zane Rowe assuming the position of interim CEO.
“Pat led the company in expanding our core virtualisation footprint and broadening our capabilities to cloud, networking, 5G/edge and security, while almost tripling revenue to nearly $12 billion,” Rowe said in a statement. “VMware remains focused on helping customers optimise their digital infrastructure — from app modernisation and multi-cloud to networking, security and digital workspaces. We look forward to continued growth and innovation across our technology offerings."
Gelsinger, who spent some 30 years at Intel and was previously CTO, was by most accounts being set up to be Intel’s CEO before leaving for EMC in 2009 and then taking the reins at VMware in 2012.
While at Intel, he helped create key technologies, including USB and Wi-Fi and led Intel to be the dominant supplier of the microprocessor — while in the significant role as the architect of the original 80486 processor, according to his VMware bio.
Meanwhile at VMware, Gelsinger led a variety of company transformations, the latest being the vendor's push to support all things Kubernetes with its Tanzu effort.
“Having begun my career at Intel and learned at the feet of [semiconductor pioneers Andrew] Grove, [Robert] Noyce and [Gordon] Moore, it’s my privilege and honour to return in this leadership capacity,” Gelsinger said in a statement from Intel.
“I have tremendous regard for the company’s rich history and powerful technologies that have created the world’s digital infrastructure. 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.”
Gelsinger by most accounts, will be taking on a significant challenge in recharging Intel. For example, CNN Business reported that under Swan, Intel has struggled. “It lost market share to rival AMD, and its stockhasn’t grown as fast as its competitors. Intel was also dealt a blow when Apple announced it will use its own processors, rather than Intel’s, in its new series of Macs,” CNN stated.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that in December, Daniel Loeb, the CEO of activist hedge fund Third Point LLC’s, wrote a letter to Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak saying, “the company’s woes could threaten the U.S. tech industry.” He urged the chip maker to consider alternatives, including selling some of its acquisitions and splitting its design and manufacturing operations — a move that would end Intel’s long-held status as America’s leading integrated semiconductor maker.