Heads roll at Intel after a 7nm delay

A man in an open neck suit speaks in front of large video monitors.
Enlarge / / Dr. Venkata (Murthy) Renduchintala speaks at Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Day 2017.

The past few years have been tough times for Intel, and after news last week that Intel’s 7nm parts had been delayed (again), this week the company is announcing a restructuring for the executive team. The biggest news is that Intel chief engineering officer Murthy Renduchintala will leave the company.

Renduchintala joined Intel in 2016, when the company pulled it away from Qualcomm with a $ 8.1 million signing bonus and a total compensation package of up to $ 25 million. He has been Intel’s chief engineering officer for just over three years and was described as “the company’s second most powerful executive” behind then-CEO Brian Krzanich.

Renduchintala led the broad group “Technology, Systems Architecture and Customer Group (TSCG)”. In Intel’s jargon, “Technology” with a capital T specifically includes the struggling chip manufacturing division. The group came under Renduchintala supervision in 2018, and since 2018 7nm has been continuously described as “on the way”.

With Renduchintala gone, TSCG will be divided into five parts and handed over to other Intel executives. Intel hopes the change “will accelerate product leadership and improve focus and accountability in the execution of process technology.” The Technology Development group will now live with 24-year-old Intel veteran Ann Kelleher. The Intel press release says Kelleher’s goals include “accelerating Intel’s 10nm process ramp” and that she “will lead the development of Intel technology focused on 7nm and 5nm processes.” Kelleher started at Intel Ireland in 1996 as a Process Engineer and moved up the fabulous management ladder.

The past few years have been terrible for Intel. In 2013, the company’s original roadmap was to move 2014-2015 at the 14nm node and then move to 10nm in 2016-2017, but an endless series of problems and setbacks with 10nm led the company to spend five years in the 14nm node. An unstable 10nm transition only started in 2019, and the company still doesn’t have 10nm desktop or server parts. With Intel spinning its wheels, AMD has returned to a second golden age with Zen architecture and main Threadripper counts. AMD is even starting to get the attention of laptop manufacturers.

Intel also completely missed the smartphone revolution as it couldn’t find an answer to the rise of the ultra low-power ARM SoC. After the insurgency of its smartphone, ARM chips quickly moved into Intel’s territory as it spread to tablets and laptops. Intel’s last black eye is being completely abandoned by Apple, which, after building its own ARM design house for iPhone and iPad, has announced plans to expand its ARM chips to Mac laptops and desktops.

Murthy Renduchintala will leave Intel on August 3, 2020.