According to a report from Bloomberg, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned after he acknowledged that he had a consensual relationship with another Intel employee in the past, which is a violation of company policy. The company has appointed CFO Bob Swan as the interim CEO.
Shortly after news of Krzanich's resignation broke, Intel released a statement acknowledging the news. Intel says an investigation by internal and external counsel confirmed a violation of the company's non-fraternization policy. Krzanich, who is married, resigned voluntarily, though it is clear that he would have been ousted regardless.
"The board believes strongly in Intel's strategy and we are confident in Bob Swan's ability to lead the company as we conduct a robust search for our next CEO. Bob has been instrumental to the development and execution of Intel's strategy, and we know the company will continue to smoothly execute. We appreciate Brian's many contributions to Intel," said Intel Chairman Andy Bryant.
Intel states that Bob Swan will manage operations in close collaboration with the company's senior leadership team, which likely means the board of directors. Swan has an impressive resume for the task: He has been Intel's CFO since October 2016 and had previous stints as CFO at eBay, Electronic Data Systems Corp., and TRW Inc. He has also served as CEO of Webvan Group Inc.
Intel's Brian Krzanich had been under scrutiny after he sold $39 million of his own Intel stock, leaving him with the Intel-mandated minimum of 250,000 shares, before the company notified the public or the industry of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. Those vulnerabilities led to several class-action lawsuits. As reported by Bloomberg, that could have exposed Krzanich to an SEC investigation for insider trading. In fact, just hours before his CES keynote, Block & Leviton LLP, announced it was investigating Krzanich for securities fraud.
The Board has a succession plan in place and has begun a search, both internally and externally, for a permanent CEO. Intel's Board is also bringing in a leading executive search firm to assist in the process.
Intel's Dr. Murthy Renduchintala, who Intel CEO Brian Krzanich brought in from Qualcomm to revitalize the company's engineering division, is a clear front runner for the position. The company recently confirmed to us that it had restructured and placed more of the company under Murthy's control, including the struggling Technology & Manufacturing Group (TMG). This move came as the company continues to struggle to bring its long-overdue 10nm process to market.
Krzanich's tenure included several other restructuring initiatives as the company laid off 11,000 employees in April 2016. Intel has spent the last year transitioning to "data-centric" businesses, which are largely composed of data center processors. This comes as the company reduces its reliance on the bread-and-butter PC segment. That strategy has been successful: Intel's Data Center Group contributed 46% of Intel's revenue in Q1 2018.
Intel has also made several other changes to its executive roster over the preceding months, including the unexpected departure of Diane Bryant to Google Cloud. At the time of her leave, Krzanich appointed Navin Shenoy, a familiar face from Intel's Client Computing Group, to serve as the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Data Center Group. He has served in the role since Bryant's departure in May 2017.
We'll update as more information becomes available.