Pat Gelsinger Takes The Reins As Intel CEO, Promises Technology Leadership Resurgence

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Roughly a month ago, we got the somewhat surprising news that Bob Swan would be stepping down from his post as Intel CEO. We say somewhat because Intel has not exactly been adhering closely to its processor roadmap, and been faced with delays in getting its volume 10nm production on track, while its future 7nm process node has also been delayed. To help right the ship, former Intel exec Pat Gelsinger was announced as the new CEO, and today is his first [official] day on the job. 

Not surprisingly, Gelsinger is ready to hit the ground running at CEO, and looks to use his deep engineering background to ensure that Intel is poised to remain not only a dominant force in PC processors, but also maintain an edge with performance and process technology. “As the incoming CEO, I am just really thrilled that we have the opportunity to take this great icon of a company, this company that has been crucial to every aspect of technology, and have it be that leader again into the future," said Gelsinger.

"I’m just thrilled as a technologist, as a geek at heart, to be able to be in that leadership role to help bring the passions, the history, the opportunity of this great company forward as never before. Our best days are in front of us.”

Intel has already transitioned its mobile processors to the 10nm process node with 10th generation Ice Lake, and now 11th generation Tiger Lake. Intel's first 10nm desktop processors are due to arrive later this year with 12th generation Alder Lake, after being stuck at 14nm for years due to technical hiccups. Back during the summer of 2020, Intel announced that it was delaying processor built on the 7nm process node by another six months, which would put the company a total of 12 months behind schedule. At this point, it's looking like those 7nm processors won't be viable until 2022 or 2023.

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"I've had the opportunity to personally examine progress on Intel's 7nm technology over the last week," said Gelsinger back in late January. "Based on initial reviews, I am pleased with the progress made on the health and recovery of the 7-nanometer program. I am confident that the majority of our 2023 products will be manufactured internally."

For his part, outgoing CEO Bob Swan decided to also say a few words to the more than 110,000 employees that previously served under him:

When I stepped into the role as CEO two years ago, I told you I was humbled, honored, excited and a bit overwhelmed. I am leaving Intel feeling much the same. I’m humbled and honored to have worked alongside all of you to grow this company, evolve our culture and unleash the brilliant talents of more than 110,000 employees around the world to deliver innovative technology that our customers need. I know that this wonderful company’s best days are ahead. And, finally, I leave feeling overwhelmed by gratitude for what we’ve accomplished together, the memories made and the warm wishes you have extended to me. Thank you.

We're excited to see what the next few years bring for Intel with Gelsinger at the helm. Alder Lake will be a pivotal shift for the company as it will use a hybrid architecture (similar to Arm's big.LITTLE) across both its desktop and laptop processor families. Intel is making some big strides on the single-threaded performance front with 11th generation Rocket Lake, so it will be interesting to see how Intel can further push the envelope with Alder Lake while improving power efficiency and multi-threaded performance.