Intel fires its chief engineer, shakes off tech group after delays

The logo of US chipmaker Intel Corp is seen in its “smart building” in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, Israel, December 15, 2019. REUTERS / Amir Cohen

(Reuters) – Intel Corp’s (INTC.O) Engineering chief Murthy Renduchintala is leaving, part of a move in which a key technology unit will be separated into five teams, the chipmaker said Monday.

Intel said it is reorganizing its technology, systems architecture, and customer group. Its new leaders will report directly to Executive Director Bob Swan.

Ann Kelleher, a 24-year Intel veteran, will lead the development of 7-nanometer and 5-nanometer chip technology processes. Last week, the company had said the smallest and fastest 7-nanometer chip-making technology was six months behind schedule and that it would have to rely more on external chipmakers to keep its products competitive.

Renduchintala, who was president of the broad group prior to its reorganization and widely viewed as Swan’s No. 2, joined Intel in 2015. He was executive vice president of Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), and has been at Accenture’s (ACN.N) since April 2018.

Renduchintala was one of several key hires from outside Intel, which had been famous in Silicon Valley for developing and promoting talent from within. He was hired as part of a strategy to pursue broader markets than the central processing units, or CPUs, for which the company became known in the PC era.

A major effort, creating modem chips to connect smartphones to mobile data networks, ended last year. Intel sold the business to Apple for $ 1 billion, a fraction of what it had invested in the effort.

Renduchintala finally took responsibility for changing Intel’s process technology, which struggled years behind schedule for its current 10-nanometer process. CEO Swan told investors in November that Intel would start catching up with rivals with its 7-nanometer process in early 2021, but was forced to roll back last week due to delays.

Intel said Renduchintala will depart on August 3.

Reports by Munsif Vengattil in Bangalore and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Shailesh Kuber and David Gregorio Edition

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