The Santa Clara, California, company said Wednesday that the change in leadership is unrelated to its financial performance previous year, but the surprise shakeup followed several weeks of investor activism by hedge fund Third Point, which had pushed for big changes.
Intel sent shockwaves through the IT world Wednesday as it announced that VMware's CEO, Pat Gelsinger, will be replacing Bob Swan next month as Intel's new CEO. Apple also ditched Intel's silicon in new MacBooks in favor of its own ARM-based chips.
In December, a major hedge fund with a one-billion-dollar stake in Intel, Third Point, issued a letter to urge Intel to take "immediate action" and shake up its business model to combat the mounting threats to the company.
Intel spokesman William Moss said Wednesday the changeover "was not driven by Third Point". The delay is now causing Intel-a U.S. company that invests billions in chipmaking- to consider using an outside foundry, such as TSMC or Samsung, to produce its 7nm processors in the future.
The unexpected snag meant that Intels 7-nanometer processing technology is unlikely to be ready until the end of 2022 or early 2023, potentially putting the company behind its rivals.
Bob Swan speaks during an Intel press event for CES 2020 in Las Vegas in January 2020
CEO of VMWare, Pat Gelsinger, is expected to take over the position.
"Having begun my career at Intel and learned at the feet of Grove, Noyce and Moore, it's my privilege and honour to return in this leadership capacity", Gelsinger said in a statement.
Swan, a former chief financial officer from eBay, had served as Intel's finance chief and was named its interim CEO when Brian Krzanich resigned in June 2018.
Intel CEO Bob Swan is to step down as of February 15, according to CNBC.