February 1, 2019 // 10:55 a.m.
Intel has officially ended its half-year search for a new chief executive in the simplest way possible: Making chief financial officer Robert Swan's interim appointment permanent.
Intel was forced to hunt for a new chief executive mid-2018 when then-CEO Brian Krzanich was forced to resign over breaches of the company's non-fraternisation policy - and not, say, over his sale of the maximum volume of stock permissible by law prior to the company making the Meltdown and Spectre hardware flaws public. Now that hunt is at an end - and the company has bucked its trend of giving the position to company lifers by promoting current interim CEO Bob Swan to the role, despite having come to the company just three years ago as its chief financial officer.
'As Intel continues to transform its business to capture more of a large and expanding opportunity that includes the data center, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, while continuing to get value from the PC business, the board concluded after a thorough search that Bob is the right leader to drive Intel into its next era of growth,' claims Intel chair Andy Bryant. 'The search committee conducted a comprehensive evaluation of a wide range of internal and external candidates to identify the right leader at this critical juncture in Intel’s evolution. We considered many outstanding executives and we concluded the best choice is Bob. Important in the board’s decision was the outstanding job Bob did as interim CEO for the past seven months, as reflected in Intel’s outstanding results in 2018. Bob’s performance, his knowledge of the business, his command of our growth strategy, and the respect he has earned from our customers, our owners, and his colleagues confirmed he is the right executive to lead Intel.'
'In my role as interim CEO, I’ve developed an even deeper understanding of Intel’s opportunities and challenges, our people and our customers,' adds Swan. '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. This is an exciting time for Intel: 2018 was an outstanding year and we are in the midst of transforming the company to pursue our biggest market opportunity ever. I’m honoured to have the chance to continue working alongside our board, our leadership team, and our more than 107,000 superb employees as we take the company forward.'
The shift will see Swan leave the role of chief financial officer, with current finance vice president Todd Underwood to take over as interim CFO while a suitable candidate is found - a process which, hopefully, won't take Intel another seven months.