Intel appoints new head of data center and AI group as it prepares to spin off ex-Altera FPGA unit

(Image credit: Intel)

Intel on Thursday said it had appointed Justin Hotard, an HPE executive who specialized on artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC), as executive vice president and general manager of its Data Center and AI Group. The main task of the new exec will be to improve Intel's positions on the market of AI hardware.

Hotard succeeds Sandra Rivera, who, as of January 1, assumed the role of chief executive officer at the Programmable Solutions Group, which Intel has spun off into an independent business as it prepares it for an IPO.

Justin Hotard joins Intel at a moment when the company faces significant challenges from numerous rivals. AMD's arch-rival Intel is stronger than ever with its EPYC processors for datacenters, there are some new players with Arm-based server-grade offerings for cloud datacenters, and some of Intel's traditional customers are rolling out their own CPUs for datacenters. The rise of AI has made Nvidia a major player in the datacenter realm (which earns more than Intel and AMD combined) and enabled many new players to enter the scene.

As a result, if five years ago Intel had to compete against a few companies, now it has to rival dozens of them in different markets. Intel's own products lineup also got more diversified and now it has Xeon CPUs for different workloads, datacenter GPUs for AI and HPC applications, and Gaudi accelerators for AI. Meanwhile, Hotard's main task will be to push Intel's products into AI machines as this is the faster growing market that is posed to get bigger in the coming years.

"Justin is a proven leader with a customer-first mindset and has an impressive track record in driving growth and innovation in the data center and AI," said Pat Gelsinger, chief exec of Intel. "Justin is committed to our vision to create world-changing technologies and passionate about the critical role Intel will play in empowering our customers for decades to come."

Before his role at Intel, Hotard held the position of executive vice president and general manager of HPE's AI and HPC division as well as led Hewlett Packard Labs, the company’s primary research division focused on applied technologies. Before joining HPE in 2015, Hotard was the president of NCR Small Business and held corporate development and operating positions at Symbol Technologies and Motorola.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.