Intel names permanent CEO, said to benefit firm’s Israel operations

Source says Robert Swan familiar with chipmaker’s expanding activities in Israel

New Intel CEO Robert Swan, who was named as the technology firm's chief executive on January 31, 2019. (Credit: Intel Corporation)
New Intel CEO Robert Swan, who was named as the technology firm's chief executive on January 31, 2019. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Intel announced Thursday it is making Robert Swan its permanent CEO, after several months as interim leader of the tech behemoth.

A source at Intel said Swan’s appointment as permanent CEO is expected to provide a boon to the firm’s operations in Israel, owing to his familiarity with its activities there.

Swan, 58, has led the chipmaker since June, when CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned that he had carried on a consensual relationship with an employee. The relationship violated Intel’s non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers.

Swan had been the company’s chief financial officer since 2016 and is somewhat of a rarity as CEO of Intel: his resume paints him as an outsider. Krzanich had been CEO for five years, and joined Intel Corp. in 1982 as an engineer.

Swan had previously worked at General Atlantic LLC, a private equity firm.

Swan takes over during a tricky period for Intel Inc. The Santa Clara, California, company recently cut its outlook amid rising trade tensions and a slowing global economy.

Intel’s plant in Kiryat Gat (Courtesy)

Earlier this week, Intel announced it would build a new plant in Kiryat Gat that is expected to include an $11 billion investment.

Since setting up operations in Israel in 1974, the US firm has made cumulative investments and acquisitions of some $35 billion in Israel, as of May 2018, and has grown into the largest private sector employer in the high-tech industry.

Aside from the manufacturing plant in Kiryat Gat, in the northern Negev, Intel has R&D centers in Jerusalem, Petah Tikva and Haifa.

The Silicon Valley giant currently employs 11,700 people in Israel in its Kiryat Gat plant and development centers across the country, in addition to the 1,170 employees of Mobileye, a maker of advanced driver assistance systems that it purchased in 2017 for $15.3 billion.

Intel’s exports from Israel reached $4 billion in 2018, according to the company.

Reports in the Hebrew-language press this week also said Intel made a bid to acquire Mellanox Technologies Ltd., an Israeli maker of high-speed servers and storage switching solutions, for $5 billion to $6 billion, a premium to its current market price. Microsoft, a Mellanox client, and US tech firm Xilinx Inc. are also reportedly in the running to buy the firm.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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