Intel elects Weisler director, regroups engineers with Keller resigned

hq sign for intel in santa clara
Intel's election of former HP CEO Dion Weisler to its board comes at the same time the world's largest chipmaker regroups engineering assignments with the sudden resignation of veteran chip designer Jim Keller. (Intel)

Intel announced Tuesday that it elected former HP CEO Dion Weisler to its board of directors, one of a number of high-level management and engineering leadership changes in recent days.

Weisler, 52, will serve as an independent director and member of the board’s compensation and finance committees.

Intel separately announced on June 11 that veteran chip engineer Jim Keller had resigned due to unspecified “personal reasons” just two years after joining Intel in April 2018 to lead its engineering group.

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Keller had previously worked at Apple, AMD and Tesla and was seen as important in Intel’s efforts to move Intel under CEO Bob Swan beyond the PC chip market and into areas such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and cloud and high performance computing.

The changes come at a time when the world’s largest chipmaker faces stiff challenges from AMD and Nvidia especially in the server chip market.  COVID-19 has also made an impact on the semiconductor industry by leading to a downturn in car sales and lessened focus on autonomic vehicle chip development, but also an uptick in cloud computing and PC use by workers at home.  It isn’t clear how those trends play into Intel’s specific strategies for chip growth, but Intel leaders will undoubtedly face such issues.  

In addition, Intel and much of the semiconductor industry face concerns about racial diversity among board and management roles in light of the killing of George Floyd and international protests over police killings of minorities and more general concerns over racial justice.

Keller will remain a consultant for Intel for six months, Intel said.  In an update to his departure announcement, Intel on Tuesday named changes in six engineering leadership positions under Venkata (Murthy) Renduchintala, chief engineering officer and group president of Intel’s technology, systems, architecture and client group.

Weisler was CEO of HP from 2015 to 2019 and served on the HP board from 2015 to May 2020.  He currently serves on the boards of Thermo Fisher Scientific and BHP.

Dion Weisler, former HP CEO
Dion Weisler, former HP CEO and new Intel board director

“Having admired Intel for more than three decades as the company that fueled compute as we know it, I’m honored and excited to join them as they transform to capitalize on new markets fueled by the incredible growth of data and intelligence,” Weisler said in a statement.

Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak said in a statement that Weisler championed diversity and inclusion at HP, something he shares with Intel’s “strong commitment to corporate responsibility.” With Weisler’s addition to the board, Intel now has 10 members, with four independent directors added since 2018, two of whom are women, including one an underrepresented minority, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, elected in March 2018.

“In the last two years, Intel has made significant changes to its board of directors, having reduced the average tenure, added critical skills and increased board diversity,” Ishrak said in a statement. “While we view this as positive progress, we are not satisfied. Consistent with Intel’s values, we expect to continue adding additional directors with a specific focus on increasing the representation of racially and ethnically diverse board members.”

RELATED: Intel unveils array of chip research focused on edge data processing

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