After completing nine years as CEO of VMware last week, Pat Gelsinger on Tuesday started work in the same job at Intel and prioritized delivering on promises and innovating quickly.
Gelsinger expressed nostalgia for the chip maker's glory days in a memo to Intel employees that Chipzilla saw fit to share with the world. In the memo, he cited the company’s first three CEOs, co-founders Gordon Moore and Andy Grove, alongside Robert Noyce, as inspiration for his “dream job.” Of the three, Grove most-recently served in a leadership role, but stepped down as CEO in 1998 and left Intel’s board in 2004. Intel has had four CEOs since Grove, none name-checked in Gelsinger’s memo.
The new CEO did outline his four priorities for the business, and emphasised his desire for Intel to lead in every category, and "execute flawlessly" in the face of "aggressive targets to regain share and leadership." Lastly, he promised to attract and motivate talent. That final vow accompanied a direct call to return to “Groveian disciplines for direct transparent and data-driven decisions and accountability.”
Gelsinger’s words appear to be indirect references to Intel’s delayed 7nm manufacturing process, flop in the mobile device market, and quality problems like the Meltdown and Spectre design blunders.
Gelsinger acknowledged that Intel can't revisit Grove's time in charge of the company.
“Everything is becoming digital,” he said, adding that cloud, mobility fueled by 5G, artificial intelligence and the intelligent edge, are digital’s four key superpowers and will “transcend and transform the world.”
Gelsinger began his career at Intel in 1979 as a quality control technician. He worked his way up to become the company’s youngest VP and the architect of the original 486 processor. In 2001, he was named Intel’s first CTO. He left the corporation in 2009 under CEO Paul Ottelini to become EMC’s President and COO, a career move that surprised observers who felt he was destined for Intel's big chair.
His time at VMware saw revenues almost triple, leading to speculation he would return to Intel after the 2018 resignation of CEO Brian Krzanich. Intel chose Bob Swan as CEO instead, but in early 2021 announced he was leaving despite having delivered what the company's board described as “significant contributions through this period of transformation for Intel.” ®