To fight TSMC and Samsung, Intel hires execs from foundry rivals
x86 giant wants to manufacture more of the world’s chips, regardless of whether it designs them
Intel wants to build a contract chip manufacturing business that will rival Asian foundry giants TSMC and Samsung, so the x86 giant has been hiring away executives and senior employees from competing chipmakers with the goal of manufacturing a larger share of the world's chips.
The latest additions to Intel's revitalized foundry business, Intel Foundry Services, are Suk Lee and Michael Chang, two TSMC veterans who have a combined experience of 44 years working for the Taiwanese company.
Lee's title at Intel is vice president of the ecosystem technology office, while Chang has taken the role of vice president of customer enablement, according to their respective LinkedIn profiles.
Chang spent 31 years at TSMC, having most recently served as director of advanced technology solutions. Lee, on the other hand, worked at TSMC for 13 years and was a vice president within the company's design infrastructure management division before leaving with Chang in June.
Intel launched Intel Foundry Services in March 2021 as part of CEO Pat Gelsinger's comeback plan to take back the chip manufacturing crown from TSMC and Samsung after years of missteps caused Intel to fall behind in leading-edge nodes. This allowed fabless chip designers, such as AMD and Apple, to gain an advantage over Intel's own components.
Since then, Intel has built out its foundry team by moving around people internally and hiring from other chip companies, including rival contract manufacturers. The Xeon processor giant is also set to absorb an entire organization of foundry professionals through its planned $5.4 billion acquisition of Israel's Tower Semiconductor.
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One of the first high-profile outside hires for Intel Foundry Services was Hong Hao, who joined last June after serving as senior vice president and head of Samsung's North American foundry business.
Around the same time as Hao's arrival, Margaret Han, a 21-year TSMC veteran, joined Intel's foundry business as senior director of global external manufacturing sourcing and supplier management.
Other noteworthy hires include Walter Ng, who now serves as vice president of North America business development after working for Chinese foundry UMC for nearly eight years; and Lluis Paris, who is currently working as chief of staff to Intel Foundry Services President Randhir Thakur after a 14-year run at TSMC.
While Intel is working to staff up the revitalized foundry business, Intel Foundry Services is still far from posing a serious threat to TSMC and Samsung. This is reflected by the fact that Intel's foundry business only brought in $283 million in revenue for the first quarter while TSMC and Samsung raked in $17.5 billion and $5.3 billion, respectively, during the first three months of the year.
Intel is hoping to build off early foundry engagements with Amazon Web Services and Cisco [PDF] with the hope that its contract manufacturing division will someday become a multi-billion-dollar business. But first, the company will need to ensure it can keep its overall manufacturing plans on track and not falter like it has in the recent past. ®