Intel on Thursday said that top chip designer Jim Keller has resigned for personal reasons. Keller’s resignation is effective immediately but he will act as a consultant for the company for six months, Intel said Thursday in a statement.
Keller was a senior vice president and general manager of silicon engineering. The former executive at Apple Inc., Tesla Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is credited with leading programs that have produced some of the most important components in the industry’s history.
While Intel continues to report record sales, its rivals claim their products are now equal or better in performance and that Intel’s manufacturing delays make it more vulnerable to competition than it has been in years.
“Keller’s departure is a big deal and suggests that whatever he was implementing at Intel was not working or the old Intel guard did not want to implement it,” Hans Mosesmann, an analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, wrote in a note to investors. “The net of this situation for us is that Intel’s processor and process node roadmaps are going to be more in flux or broken than even we had expected.”
Keller was a senior executive at PA Semi, which was later acquired by Apple to boost its in-house component efforts. He designed some of Apple’s earliest in-house iPhone and iPad chips, which are the main custom components in its best-selling devices.
MacDailyNews Take: Gettin’ out while the gettin’ is good.
The forthcoming Apple-designed ARM-based Mac performance benchmarks are going to shame many at Intel, home of bloated, fatally-insecure, outmoded, forever-delayed dreck. Personally, Keller would likely wish to avoid what he simply has to know is coming.
Intel’s future roadmap leads straight to abject embarrassment.
Hopefully, after Keller serves his six-month sentence, he’ll be free to return to Apple where cutting edge chip designs actually ship with stunning regularity or to some other semiconductor firm that has at least a clue.
Keller’s departure is a big deal. No one else in the semiconductor industry has his pedigree of chip-engineering success over the last two decades. In the late 1990s, he designed Digital Equipment’s Alpha chip, which was the fastest in the world at the time. Then after stints as lead chip architect at Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and PA Semi, he led the team at Apple Inc. that created the A4 and A5 mobile processors, which were instrumental to the success of the early iPhones. After Apple, he returned to AMD and helped design the Zen microarchitecture, laying the groundwork for the company’s turnaround. And prior to joining Intel in 2018, the executive was the head of Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot efforts.The surprising resignation came after other momentous news for Intel earlier this week. On Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported that Apple was on the verge of announcing plans to use its own chips over Intel’s in Macs starting next year.
MacDailyNews Note: Intel’s statement, verbatim:
Jim Keller to Depart Intel; New Leaders Named
SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 11, 2020 – Today, Intel announced that Jim Keller has resigned effective June 11, 2020, due to personal reasons. 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 is pleased to announce, however, that Mr. Keller has agreed to serve as a consultant for six months to assist with the transition.
Intel has a vastly experienced team of technical leaders within its Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG) under the leadership of Dr. Venkata (Murthy) Renduchintala, group president of TSCG and chief engineering officer. As part of this transition, the following leadership changes will be made, effective immediately:
• 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.
Intel congratulates Sundari, Gene, Daaman and Navid as we begin the next phase of our world-class engineering organization and look forward to executing on our exciting roadmap of products.
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