Intel picks Robert Swan for chief executive

Swan has served as Intel's interim CEO since the resignation of Brian Krzanich last June.

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Intel's new CEO Bob Swan.

Intel on Thursday announced that interim chief executive Robert Swan is now the chipmaker's permanent CEO, ending a more than six-month search following the abrupt resignation of former CEO Brian Krzanich last June. Just last week, Swan told analysts that the board was still evaluating candidates for what he considered "the biggest and best open job on the planet". Lo and behold, it was him. 

"We considered many outstanding executives and we concluded the best choice is Bob," said Intel chairman Andy Bryant. "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."

Also: Intel unveils next-gen Sunny Cove CPUs, graphics plans, and 3D silicon stacking

With his appointment, Swan becomes the seventh CEO in Intel's 50-year history. Krzanich held the role for five years before it was revealed that he had a consensual relationship with another employee, which violated the company's non-fraternization policy. Swan was Intel's CFO since 2016. Todd Underwood, vice president of finance and director of Intel's corporate planning and reporting, will assume the role of interim CFO.

While Swan's appointment will help unify Intel's messaging and direction, investor reaction is so far tepid. As noted by Mizuho semiconductors analyst Vijay Rakesh, investor pushback might stem from the lack of a technologist at the helm of a leading global technology company. On the positive side, Swan's appointment ensures that Intel moves forward with continuity as it focuses on product strategy and revenue growth.

"I do think Intel's strategy is the right one; the company needs to improve its execution, and bringing in an outsider without Intel experience didn't make sense," said tech analyst Patrick Moorhead. "Intel has a very strong bench, two who were considered for the CEO role, who will help Swan and Intel."

Shares of Intel dipped nearly 3 percent on today's news.

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