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Intel replaces chief executive under activist pressure

James Titcomb
·1-min read
Intel logo - AP
Intel logo - AP

Intel has ousted its chief executive as the once-mighty chipmaker comes under pressure from activist investors who feared it has fallen behind more nimble rivals.

The company, which last year lost its position as America’s biggest microchip maker, said Bob Swan had resigned, two years after he was made chief executive.

Intel had been targeted by Third Point, the activist hedge fund run by Dan Loeb, which had called for a partial break-up of the company and said it should assess outsourcing chip production.

Intel, which dominated the PC era of the 1990s and early 2000s, missed out on the smartphone revolution to chips based on technology from Britain’s Arm, and is under increasing pressure in other areas such as data centres.

Mr Swan will be replaced by Pat Gelsinger, the head of software company VMWare, who had spent 30 years at Intel, most recently as its chief technology officer, before joining VMWare in 2012.

Intel has been boosted by record demand for PCs during the pandemic, but has fallen behind Asian chipmakers Samsung and TSMC in high-tech manufacturing.

Nvidia, the US rival that overtook the company in market capitalisation terms last year, agreed to pay $40bn for Arm last year, a combination that could present a new challenge to Intel. Last year, Apple ended two decades of working with Intel by putting in-house chips inside its new laptops.

Intel shares rose 8pc after the announcement.