Pat Gelsinger Faces Tough Challenges as he Returns to Intel as CEO
by Jim Lundy
This week Intel announced that VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is returning to Intel as its new CEO, effective February 15th. Pat can be credited with making tremendous improvement when he was at VMware, and he will face tremendous challenge if he wants to right the ship called Intel when he returns.
Can Pat Gelsinger Save Intel?
In reality, Pat Gelsinger has not been gone from Intel for that long. However in that time the market has changed and Intel has fallen behind particularly in the chip race. It is now struggling to produce a 7nm processor, while others such as TSMC are now making 5nm processors. Firms like Apple have decided to design their own ARM based chips that use the 5nm processors.
Talent Flight—Fixing Employee Engagement
Over the last few years, it wasn’t just Pat Gelsinger who left Intel, it was an army of others. Intel faces the challenge of calling back some of the talented people that left to try and get Intel back on track, however, it will take time to fix this flight of talent. That said, I'm confident that recruiting - bringing back talent to Intel - will be one of the things Pat will address - even though he doesn't officially start until February 15th.
Intel—Could it Buy ARM?
One thing we think that Intel could possibly do is to try to grab ARM, which is currently being sold to Nvidia. That is a longshot and even if they did buy Nvidia Intel could not manufacture those designs. That leaves it in the short term to improve its processors and to pursue advanced engineering to continue to miniaturize those processes and be competitive with Nvidia and ARM.
Who Is to Blame for Intel’s Fall?
Who should we blame for Intel’s current crisis? A number of failed CEOs along with Intel’s board and generally poor employee engagement have been a recipe for disaster.
Pat Gelsinger was Intel's first CTO. His leaving was a signal that not all was well at Intel. However, if anyone can right the ship at Intel it is Pat. He did a tremendous job at VMware and now he can focus all of his energies on winning small battles at Intel that can lead to larger victories down the road.
Intel faces tough challenges in both innovation and employee engagement. Pat knows the Intel culture well, and if there is anyone who is up to the task it is Pat. He will need help and I’m sure that all of the conversations he will be having between now and his return will be about convincing others that Intel is worth it, and that they should return to help with the turn around.