Chip Architect Jim Keller Resigns from Intel
Prominent chip exec Jim Keller is parting ways with Intel, where he led the Silicon Engineering Group for two years. Keller resigned effective today (June 11) for “personal reasons,” and will stay on as a consultant for six months, according to Intel.
Keller has more than two decades experience spearheading advanced x86 and ARM-based microarchitectures across a broad range of platforms. A two-time AMD alum, he was the mastermind behind the “Zen” chip, central to AMD’s comeback in the datacenter market, and he helped design chips at Tesla and Apple.
“Intel appreciates Mr. Keller’s work over the past two years helping them continue advancing Intel’s product leadership and they wish him and his family all the best for the future,” Intel said in a company posting.
In an internal memo cited by Reuters, Venkata (Murthy) Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer, stated: “Many of us have witnessed first-hand Jim’s technical strength in CPU design and passion for silicon engineering. I personally very much appreciated his efforts to help us advance Intel’s product leadership.”
On the occasion of Keller’s being named HPCwire Person to Watch in 2019, we asked him about the unifying thread that ran through his career. “Number one is I always work on interesting problems,” he said. “Number two is I really get into the details of what I’m doing and what the results of my design – both good and bad – are. Details and problems are inspiring to me. You learn more from your mistakes than your successes.”
Keller has a history of moving on to the next interesting challenge after fairly short tenures. He completed the Zen design in three years at AMD, and left before the tape-out. However, after only two years at Intel, and with less known publicly about the specific projects he was engaged in, it is not clear that this departure follows the same pattern.
As part of the transition, Intel is realigning internal groups and made the following leadership changes:
- Sundari Mitra, the former CEO and founder of NetSpeed Systems and the current leader of Intel’s Configurable Intellectual Property and Chassis Group, will lead a newly created IP Engineering Group focused on developing best-in-class IP.
- Gene Scuteri, an accomplished engineering leader in the semiconductor industry, will head the Xeon and Networking Engineering Group.
- Daaman Hejmadi will return to leading the Client Engineering Group focused on system-on-chip (SoC) execution and designing next-generation client, device and chipset products. Hejmadi has over two decades of experience leading teams delivering advanced SoCs both inside and outside of Intel.
- Navid Shahriari, an experienced Intel leader, will continue to lead the Manufacturing and Product Engineering Group, which is focused on delivering comprehensive pre-production test suites and component debug capabilities to enable high-quality, high-volume manufacturing.