Intel Appoints New Head for Foundry Business

Intel on Tuesday appointed its veteran Stuart Pann as general manager of Intel Foundry Services. Stuart Pann has never worked in the foundry industry, but he has vast experience in supply chain management, planning, and strategic allocation of resources. Apparently, Intel believes that these are the skills that IFS needs to become one of the world's leading contract makers of chips by 2030.

Stuart Pann replaces Randhir Thakur, who was instrumental in establishing Intel's foundry operations from 2021–2022, but who stepped down from the position last November. Previously, it was widely believed that Intel would appoint someone from Tower Semiconductor after it closes the takeover deal to lead IFS, but it looks like the company decided to hire its own veteran for the role. Now that IFS got its head, it begs the question of how Intel will employ executives from Tower, who bring decades of foundry experience to the company.

Pann previously served as Intel's chief business transformation officer and general manager of the company's Corporate Planning Group after he returned to the company in 2021. He knows the structure of Intel and the structure of IFS. Among other things, Pann established IDM 2.0 acceleration office.

"With deep expertise in capital and capacity strategies, supply chain management, and sales and operations planning across internal and external manufacturing, Stuart is an ideal leader to accelerate this momentum and drive long-term growth for IFS," said Pat Gelsinger, chief executive of Intel.

Before re-joining Intel, Pann held the positions of chief supply chain officer and chief information officer at HP. Prior to that, he worked at Intel as the corporate vice president and general manager of the Business Management Group, where he oversaw the pricing, revenue, and forecasting functions for Intel's microprocessor and chipset businesses.

In fact, Stuart Pann spent some 33 years at Intel from 1981 to 2014 and held various sales management positions before becoming the director of pricing and operations for the Intel microprocessor business in 1999, his LinkedIn profile reads. An important detail about the new executive of IFS is that, throughout his career, he has never worked with a foundry as a customer. He has never been responsible for chip production at Intel, and he has never worked at any contract chipmaker.

"Intel Foundry Services is a critical pillar of our IDM 2.0 strategy, and it’s been exciting to watch it grow from an idea to an operating business with a world-class IP portfolio and significant customers in less than two years," Pann said. "I am committed to championing the interests of our foundry customers and to helping them take advantage of Intel’s leading-edge process technology and full stack of open systems foundry offerings so they can succeed in a world that demands ever more computing."

While the appointment of Stuart Pann is a bit surprising, it's good to see that Intel's IFS finally has a leader. At the very least, the business unit will get a strategy for how to reach its strategic goal and become the world's No. 2 foundry by the end of the decade. And if it can manage that, then it can start thinking about how to overtake TSMC and regain its former lead in process technology.

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.

  • bit_user
    The problem with bringing in an "outsider" is that lack of expertise in the fab business will limit his ability to know when he's being fed BS. That's key for knowing who to hire & fire, as well as for resolving disagreements that arise among his direct reports and their departments.

    I've only seen this play out at the middle-manager level, though. Not sure how much of an impediment it is in senior management. When you get high enough, in these organizations, they start to look more and more like investment banks.
  • rluker5
    As someone who worked in manufacturing for a couple decades, " but he has vast experience in supply chain management, planning, and strategic allocation of resources " is the most important skillset for the top manager.
    Intel has to sell and deliver products to support making them. It is not just "build it and they will come". The resources will have to be allocated for manufacturing and development, but that is only part of the story. Intel already could be competing with Samsung for foundry business.

    From the information this article presents, this guy seems like a great hire.
  • bit_user
    rluker5 said:
    As someone who worked in manufacturing for a couple decades,
    I definitely respect your experience and insight, but I'd just point out that he's also managing what's effectively a scientific research organization consisting of probably thousands of scientists and process engineers. Those folks need to deliver breakthroughs on a consistent basis, for IFS to remain a viable option for their top customers. The closer we get to the physical limits, the bigger that challenge becomes.

    I'm not saying they should've put a particle physicist in that role, but at least having someone with experience in the semiconductor fab industry seems like a good idea.