Intel’s CEO just quit over a rule-breaking relationship | Computing

Intel Brian Krzanich has unexpectedly resigned, after it was revealed that he had previously had a relationship with another employee. That relationship, Intel points out, was consensual; however, the chip-maker has a strict “non-fraternization policy” which forbids employees from having romantic relationships.

“An ongoing investigation by internal and external counsel has confirmed a violation of Intel’s non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers,” Intel said today. “Given the expectation that all employees will respect Intel’s values and adhere to the company’s code of conduct, the board has accepted Mr. Krzanich’s resignation.”

Krzanich will be replaced by Robert Swan, currently Chief Financial Officer at Intel, as the firm’s interim CEO. The former eBay CFO joined Intel in late 2016, and will be responsible for keeping the processor firm on-track while a new, permanent CEO is found. Intel is considering both internal and external candidates, the company’s board says.

“The board believes strongly in Intel’s strategy and we are confident in Bob Swan’s ability to lead the company as we conduct a robust search for our next CEO,” Andy Bryant, chairman of the board, said today. “Bob has been instrumental to the development and execution of Intel’s strategy, and we know the company will continue to smoothly execute. We appreciate Brian’s many contributions to Intel.”

Krzanich has worked at Intel since 1982, initially as an engineer but eventually working his way up to chief executive in May 2013. Since then he’s been instrumental in attempting to broaden Intel’s role beyond desktop and notebook processors. That has included a stronger push into cellular modems, with Intel trying to position itself as a key rival to Qualcomm in 5G.

The chip firm has also looked to more distributed computing for potential new markets. So-called edge computing, which distributes the power of the cloud to geographically nearer locations is one area of focus for Intel; the company has also struck up partnerships with autonomous car projects, hoping to make its silicon the core of driverless vehicles.

However Krzanich’s tenure hasn’t been entirely controversy-free. Earlier this year, in fact, the former CEO came in for criticism after it was revealed that he sold roughly half the Intel stock he owned, shortly before the Spectre and Meltdown chip flaws were detailed publicly. At the time, Intel countered that the sale was unrelated to Krzanich’s knowledge of the industry-wide processor problems.

Intel said today that it expects a stronger Q2 2018 than previously predicted, with revenues of approximately $16.9 billion.

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