Intel Foundry Services Chief Steps Down

Intel
(Image credit: Intel)

Randhir Thakur, the head of Intel's contract chip production unit, has resigned, according to a report from The Register that was confirmed by Intel. He will continue to lead Intel Foundry Services through Q1 2023 to ensure a smooth transition to a new leader. 

Pat Gelsinger, chief executive of Intel, sent an email to the company's employees thanking Randhir Thakur for helping establish IFS and being instrumental to the company's IDM 2.0 business model

"Randhir has been a key member of the Executive Leadership Team for the past two and a half years and has served in several senior leadership roles since he joined us in 2017," Intel's CEO wrote in the email quoted by The Register. "His contributions to our [Integrated Device Manufacturing] 2.0 transformation are many, but most notable is his leadership in standing up our IFS business." 

Indeed, Randhir Thakur has done quite a lot to be proud of at IFS. During his tenure, Intel announced the pending acquisition of Tower Semiconductor (which would immediately make Intel one of the biggest contract makers of chips). He was also instrumental in inking deals with giant chip developers like MediaTek, which also happens to be one of TSMC's largest customers. This contract was a major win for IFS, and the outfit also won a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense for the Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes - Commercial (RAMP-C) program. 

But IFS is far from an ideal contract chipmaker, at least based on what we know about Intel's process technology roadmap through 2025. The company's plans announced so far largely align its production nodes to its own fabrication processes, which is good for Intel as an IDM (Integrated Design Manufacturer) player, but might not be enough to persuade companies like Apple, AMD, and Nvidia to use IFS services for their high-volume products. 

Intel's most logical next move is perhaps to hand the foundry division over to the management of Tower Semiconductor. The transaction is set to close in February 2023, which is around the time Randhir Thakur is set to leave. Tower Semiconductor has developed its roadmap together with its customers for years, so the management experience will be critical for the future of IFS.

The Intel Foundry Services business unit earned $171 million in the company’s fiscal third quarter of 2022 (opens in new tab), which may not sound much given that it is about 1.1% of the company’s revenue. The company has yet to offer its leading-edge technologies to big customers.

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. 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.

  • tommo1982
    I don't see AMD being a customer of Intel's foundry.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Intel's Foundary Services need to be split off from Intel's Design Team.

    Seperation of Church & State, but apply it to Chip Fabrication & Design.
    Reply
  • The Historical Fidelity
    tommo1982 said:
    I don't see AMD being a customer of Intel's foundry.
    I would love to see that actually
    Reply
  • rluker5
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    Intel's Foundary Services need to be split off from Intel's Design Team.

    Seperation of Church & State, but apply it to Chip Fabrication & Design.
    Perhaps you haven't noticed the difference in size between TSMC and Intel's foundry business on the latest nodes.
    This would be the fastest way to turn Intel Foundry into Global Foundry, which I think was relatively larger compared to the competition when it got spun off.

    Right now we have 2 top end foundries in the world, one is mostly in house. And if you disagree, then how much better would Intel's CPUs be if they went to TSMC? Would my 13900kf do 7ghz 2 core, 6.6ghz all core without increasing volts in bios instead of 6/5.6? There is competitive innovation being done on both sides right now and if there were one leading foundry and some stragglers we would have little of that and monopolistic pricing.

    Right now the market caps of TSMC=$408B, Nv=$381B, AMD=$117B, Intc=119B and Intel is taking on the other 3. David and Goliath. And pressuring TSMC and AMD to innovate and keep prices down to keep up. Split up Intel chip design and foundry and this would end overnight.

    Edit: Also having the two integrated helps optimize the one for the other. Kind of like in other areas of manufacturing. Many times the theoretical is not practical and empirically based adjustments must be made to design. Easier to do when both can be an open book to those in charge of making the decisions.
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    "Intel Foundry" is a load of hooey . . . AND, there are significant differences between the standard cell libraries within those who utilize TSMC fabs. 'Hats-Off' to TSMC for maintaining those firewalls between customers.

    Anti-trust 'Chipzillah" -- not so much.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    rluker5 said:
    Perhaps you haven't noticed the difference in size between TSMC and Intel's foundry business on the latest nodes.
    This would be the fastest way to turn Intel Foundry into Global Foundry, which I think was relatively larger compared to the competition when it got spun off.

    Right now we have 2 top end foundries in the world, one is mostly in house. And if you disagree, then how much better would Intel's CPUs be if they went to TSMC? Would my 13900kf do 7ghz 2 core, 6.6ghz all core without increasing volts in bios instead of 6/5.6? There is competitive innovation being done on both sides right now and if there were one leading foundry and some stragglers we would have little of that and monopolistic pricing.

    Right now the market caps of TSMC=$408B, Nv=$381B, AMD=$117B, Intc=119B and Intel is taking on the other 3. David and Goliath. And pressuring TSMC and AMD to innovate and keep prices down to keep up. Split up Intel chip design and foundry and this would end overnight.

    Edit: Also having the two integrated helps optimize the one for the other. Kind of like in other areas of manufacturing. Many times the theoretical is not practical and empirically based adjustments must be made to design. Easier to do when both can be an open book to those in charge of making the decisions.
    At the same time, if Intel's Foundry Services were truly "Neutral & Independent", and they opened themselves up like TSMC to the world's companies.

    That could also bring alot of innovation.

    Just because you think they're doing well now, doesn't mean they can't improve when their feet is held to the fire.

    And Intel (Design Company) would still do very well.

    IFS would still focus on Frequency since that's their key advantage.
    Obviously IFS will improve over time, but they're a few steps behind.

    TSMC focuses on Efficiency in Power & Transistor per Die Area.
    Reply