ONE OF THE MOST recognizable and influential Intel executives, Pat Gelsinger, is no longer with the company. His rather sudden departure means a massive reshuffling that reaches just about every corner of Intel.
If you knew the Intel organizational structure, simply take that, put it in a paint shaker, mix on high for 72 minutes, lose a few bits here and there, and you have the new Intel. There are now three major arms, Intel Architecture Group (IAG), Technology and Manufacturing Group (TMG), and Sales and Marketing Group (SMG). All of them have subgroups, but the delineation of responsibilities is pretty obvious.
The one that most people will care about is IAG, and that is headed up by Sean Maloney and Dadi Perlmutter. Sean will do what he is best at, the business and operations side, and Dadi will be the technical manager. Intel tends to put two heads in divisions like this, a business person and technologist each co-sharing responsibilities. I think both people will do well there.
Under IAG, there are six groups, PC Client, Data Center, Visual Computing, Ultra Mobility, Embedded and Communications, and Digital Home. They are all suffixed with the word ‘group’ for some odd reason, and led by Mooly Eden, Kirk Skaugen, Jim Johnson, Anand Chandrasekher, Doug Davis, and Eric Kim, respectively.
There are a few things to note here, some of which are hugely important. PCs and laptops are now under the same division, mirroring the same sea shift in usage that led laptops to take more than half the market. Mooly Eden is now running the volume business, and the one touched by more users and consumers than any other.
This promotion is huge, and he richly, pun intended, deserves it. Looking back, Eden was the one of the key people who designed the architectures that took Intel out of the dark and hot Pentium 4 days. This promotion looks like a pat on the beret for basically saving the company.
Janet Ramkissoon of Quadra Capital wasn’t surprised by this move, pointing out that everyone tends to underestimate Eden as both an executive and a technologist. We agree with that assessment. If you had to pin the whole core-banias-dothan-conroe direction on someone, it would likely have to be Eden. A company wants someone with that kind of vision at the top, and it looks like he is headed there.
Visual Computing is also interesting. Intel finally noticed graphics, and is giving it a place at the table. Hopefully this will likely help Larrabee dig its way out of the current mess, or at least elevate any problems to a level where they will be taken more seriously. In any case, let’s expect a hearty round of whoop-ass from the new leader in visual computing, Intel.
Ultra Mobility was moved out from under laptops, a clear sign that it is a distinct and different set of technologies and priorities for notebooks and netbooks. That said, there shouldn’t be many changes to what happens there.
The other three groups are more or less unchanged. One other interesting thing to think about is the complete lack of mention of the Digital Health Group in today’s statements.
Additionally, there are four other units, each with a thankfully descriptive name. Micro-architecture Planning, Microprocessor and Chipset Development, System on a Chip (SoC) Solutions, and finally Wireless. They are managed by Steve Pawlowski, Rony Friedman, Rob Crooke, and Raviv Melamed, respectively.
The other major technical group, TMG, holds what some would call the heart of Intel, process technology. Interestingly, Andy Bryant, a finance person at heart, is now running that, freeing up Paul Otellini from having to deal with minutia like multi-billion dollar R&D efforts and factories that take similar numbers of digits to build.
TMG is now run by Bob Baker, Bill Holt, and Brian Krzanich, marking the first time in recent memory that an Intel organization this large has been run by three people all with a first name starting with the letter ‘B’. If you don’t understand the implications of this, break out the tin foil hats and read this, both pages.
The last big group is SMG, Sales and Marketing, and it is now run by Tom Kilroy. Sean Maloney used to run this group, so you can understand his move to the less technical half of IAG. Judging from Intel’s success in marketing recently, Maloney’s promotion makes sense.
Although the organizational reshuffle is one of those things that get business school teachers all atwitter, the departures of Pat Gelsinger and Bruce Sewell are likely more important. Sewell was Intel’s general counsel, and with all the upcoming lawsuits about to kick into high gear, Sewell’s move was likely a chance to get out before things got bogged down in multi-year legal quagmires.
Much more importantly, Pat Gelsinger is no longer at Intel, moving on to EMC. There are two schools of thought among Intel watchers, one technical and one succession oriented. The technical one is that there was some call, or series of calls, that tarnished his halo. There have been several large and expensive missteps at Intel lately, but Gelsinger’s involvement in any of them is an open question.
More likely is the idea of succession, or lack thereof. Pat Gelsinger was on the short list of people to succeed Paul Otellini, Sean Maloney being the other potential candidate. Intel has not had a technologist in the CEO post for a while, and if it became clear that Maloney was being groomed for the post-Otellini era, Gelsinger might have interpreted that as a hint. Going to EMC, where he is definitely in the running if not a shoe-in to become the next CEO, could be a good way to get the top job at a large technology company.
In the end, the reshuffle isn’t as big as some of the names may suggest. Most of the changes like laptops and desktops merging were happening in the field, so the organizational changes just confirm that direction. For most of Intel, the more things change, the more they remain the same. That said, the loss of proven executive talent like Gelsinger will be felt for a long time to come.S|A