Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns Amidst Relationship Scandal As INTC Shares Tumble

There is a change of leadership at Intel, and it is coming rather abruptly, spurred by a completely unexpected situation at the company. Intel announced that Brian Krzanich has resigned as chief executive officer effective immediately. Robert Swan will take over in the interim.

Intel has been under a lot of pressure over the past year, as it has witnessed a resurgent AMD with its Zen-based family of processors and the company has failed to execute [in a timely fashion] on its transition from 14nm process technology to new 10nm technology. However, it wasn’t the company’s performance that did Krzanich in; instead it was involvement with another Intel employee. 

An internal investigation confirmed that Krzanich has a “past consensual relationship” with another Intel employee which violated a non-fraternization policy. In his position as CEO, Krzanich was forbidden from entering into a relationship with a direct or indirect report according to CNBC. The consensual relationship ended some time ago, but details of the relationship were only recently brought to the attention of Intel’s board.

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Intel says that its policy extends to all managers and that it took this action “Given the expectation that all employees will respect Intel's values and adhere to the company's code of conduct.”

"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 com

pany will continue to smoothly execute. We appreciate Brian's many contributions to Intel," said Intel Chairman Andy Bryant.

"Intel's transformation to a data-centric company is well under way and our team is producing great products, excellent growth and outstanding financial results,” said Swan. “I look forward to Intel continuing to win in the marketplace."

Swan has served at Intel’s chief financial officer since October 2016 and has previously served for nearly a decade as the CFO of eBay. 

Krzanich previously drew attention at the start of 2018 when it was revealed that he had sold off a large number of his Intel shares. He exercised his options and sold roughly 644,000 shares (at $44.05/share) in late November, then sold an additional 245,000 shares already in his possession (at $44.55/share). The sale came just a month before it was publicly revealed that x86 processors were vulnerable to the crippling Meltdown and Spectre security exploits.