Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, October 3, 2023

More Management Change at Intel as Swan Works to ‘Destroy’ CPU Focus 

Change within Intel’s upper management – and to its company mission – has continued as a published report has disclosed that chip technology heavyweight Gary Patton, GlobalFoundries’ CTO and R&D SVP as well as former IBM VP of semiconductor R&D, has joined Intel as corporate VP and GM of design enablement. He will report to CTO Michael Mayberry.

The news, broken by Reuters yesterday, comes on the heels of the departure reported last month of Rajeeb Hazra, corporate VP of Intel’s Data Center Group and GM for the Enterprise and Government Group. And it has happened within a larger context of a broadening corporate mission discussed this week by Intel’s newly (as of January) installed CEO, Robert Swan, who said he’s pushing the company to raise its sights beyond protecting its long-standing dominance of the CPU market.

Gary Patton

Quoted by Wccftech at the annual Credit Suisse technology conference, Swan said, "We think about having 30 percent share in a $230 [silicon] TAM that we think is going to grow to $300B [silicon] TAM over the next four years. And frankly, I'm trying to destroy the thinking about having 90 percent (CPU market) share inside our company because I think it limits our thinking, I think we miss technology transitions. We miss opportunities because we're in some ways pre-occupied with protecting 90 instead of seeing a much bigger market with much more innovation going on, both Inside our four walls and outside our four walls.

“So we come to work in the morning with a 30 percent share, with every expectation over the next several years that we will play a larger and larger role in our customers’ success, and that doesn't just (mean) CPUs,” Swan said. “It means GPUs, it means Al, it does mean FPGAs, it means bringing these technologies together so we're solving customers' problems. So we’re looking at a company with roughly 30 percent share in a $288 silicon TAM, not CPU TAM but silicon TAM. We look at the investments we've been making over the last several years in these kind of key technology inflections: 5G, AI, autonomous, acquisitions, including Altera, that we think is more and more relevant both in the cloud but also AI the network and at the edge. "

Intel CEO Bob Swan (source: Intel)

The hiring of Patton from GlobalFoundries underscores a marked change from Intel’s customary practice of promoting from within -- the company has hired several new senior technology managers from other companies. Swan himself had been with TRW Inc., Electronic Data Systems and eBay before coming to Intel as CFO in October 2016; he took over the CEO role after Brian Krzanich's resignation in June 2018 and was named permanent CEO this year. As reported by Reuters, Intel over the past year also hired away from chip rival AMD Jim Keller, as SVP in charge of silicon engineering encompassing system-on-chip (SoC) development, and Raja Koduri, SVP, Chief Architect and GM, Intel architecture, graphics and software. The company also hired Chief Engineering Officer Murthy Renduchintala from Qualcomm.

Reuters reported than an Intel spokesman confirmed the authenticity of an internal memo discussing Patton’s hiring and that GlobalFoundries confirmed Patton had left the company.