Krzanich leads major shake-up at Intel

May 22, 2013 // 11:01 a.m.

Tags: #arm #atom #brian-krzanich #dadi-perlmutter #intel #mike-bell #mobile #renee-james #smartphone #soc #system-on-chip #tablet #xscale

Intel's new chief executive officer Brian Krzanich is leading a shake-up of the chip giant that will see the company launching a new division designed specifically to target the mobile and other low-power embedded markets.

Having taken over from Paul Otellini as chief executive of the chip firm, Krzanich made no bones about his company having been slow to enter the mobile market and allowing rival ARM to get a significant foothold in what is proving to be one of the fastest-growing markets around. 'The base of assets that we have,' Krzanich claimed at the time, 'will allow us to grow in that area much faster moving forwards.'

Ignoring for the moment the impossibility of moving backwards, Krzanich's comment clearly showed a desire to focus more on the mobile market Intel had so long neglected since it sold its ARM-based XScale intellectual property (IP) to Marvell back in 2006. Now, however, the first indications have emerged that Krzanich is serious - and is looking to take Intel in new directions under his leadership.

According to an internal memo leaked to the Reuters wire service, Krzanich is to found a division dubbed the 'New Devices Group' under Mike Bell, currently vice president and general manager of the company's Mobile and Communications Group. As if his current job wasn't clue enough, Bell came to Intel from personal digital assistant (PDA) pioneer Palm and Apple where he contributed to the company's iPhone programme.

Thus, it's clear: the New Devices Group is to target smartphone and tablet markets, an area where Intel is struggling to compete with incumbent Cambridge-based chip design company ARM and its multitudinous licensees. While comments made by Krzanich in the memo suggest it will also be responsible for other areas, mobile is likely to be its primary focus for the foreseeable future.

The formation of the New Devices Group under Bell isn't the only part of Krzanich's clean sweep, however. The memo also details that Dadi Perlmutter is being ousted from his control of the PC Client, Mobile Communications and Data Centre groups with all major product groups now reporting directly to Krzanich. Quite where that leaves Perlmutter is not yet clear: Reuters' claims the memo, the full text of which it has not supplied, explains that Perlmutter's 'next significant contribution at Intel' will be a matter of discussion once transfer of the product groups has been completed.

Renée James, the company's new president, is also to take charge of Intel's global manufacturing operations, leaving Krzanich free to concentrate on pushing product design and development forward at the company.

Intel has confirmed that the particulars of the leaked memo are correct, but has declined to comment on the changes at the company until it can prepare a formal press release on the matter.

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