Intel VPs of PC Innovation and System Software Depart, New CMO Appointed (Updated)

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Information came out on Sunday that two Intel veterans, both vice presidents (VPs), have left the company for unknown reasons. The departure of one VP was initially mentioned on Twitter by former Intel Principal Engineer Francois Piednoel (who left Intel in 2017).

The first departure is of Praveen Vishakantaiah, who is leaving after a career of 26 years at Intel. Vishakantaiah has served as the VP of Client Architecture and Innovation since 2018. Some of his past roles included microprocessor development, president of Intel India, and most recently three vice president roles: VP of Client Solutions and Technology, VP of Client R&D, and his last role as the VP of Innovation. His responsibilities there included "Artificial Intelligence at the edge, next generation mobile and stationary devices, client gaming, virtual/augmented reality, enterprise as well as small and medium business technologies."

In a statement, he said: "Done with a rich experience ridden Intel journey. Thanks to a number of people who helped me learn, grow and impact the business for 25+ years! Energized to move onward and forward…"

Secondly, Imad Sousou also left the company after serving over 25 years for Intel. His last role was corporate vice president of System Software Products. His organization delivered software innovations for "cloud infrastructure, autonomous driving, robotics, drones, and car infotainment" across the software stack down to bare metal. Other activities included being a board member of several open source communities, engineering partnerships with other companies and standards work, along with "Intel’s software efforts in areas including firmware and BIOS, operating systems, data-centric infrastructure including orchestration, virtualization, runtimes, and big data analytics."

The departures follow closely after another round of executive leadership changes earlier in September. This included the promotion of Gregory Bryant to executive vice president of the overarching PC Client Group, but it’s unknown if the shakeup played a role in the present departures. It is also not known yet who the successors will be of the two Intel veterans, though we have reached out to Intel for more detail.

In the last few years, Intel has vastly changed its culture with respect to hiring, changing from a culture of promotions from within to also hiring outside talent to important leadership positions, as evidenced for example by Murthy in 2015 (coming from Qualcomm) and Raja Koduri in 2017 (coming from AMD). Current Intel CEO Bob Swan is also not an Intel veteran: he joined in 2016 as CFO, with previous roles as General Atlantic and eBay. At its most recent investor meeting in May, one of the five bullet points of the Santa Clara company's strategy included "continue to hire, develop and retain the best, most diverse & inclusive talent."


Intel on Monday also announced that it has appointed Karen Walker as new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and senior vice president. She will report to Michelle Johnston Holthaus who recently got promoted to executive vice president of Intel’s Sales, Marketing and Communications Group (which might have been the driver for this change). She comes from Cisco where she was CMO since 2015, and joins Intel on October 23. She will succeed Steve Fund, who held the position since 2014.

Walker will be responsible for Intel’s brand as CMO. In a statement she said: “Intel is an iconic company at a pivotal moment as it transforms to power a world of new possibilities and expanded market opportunities. It is one of the most globally recognized brands with a strong story to tell. I look forward to joining a great team and building the future of technology together.”

In an interview with Forbes, she further added: “There are a lot of great things the company is doing that they’re not getting credit for…a lot of goodness in terms of the strategy and the culture that needs to be told.”