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Israel’s Shlomit Weiss gets key chip design job at Intel Corp

Weiss, a veteran of the industry, returns to Intel after 4 years at Mellanox; she will work from Israel side by side with Sunil Shenoy, head of the global engineering group

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Intel Corp. unveils its highest-performing data-center processor, Ice Lake Server, sired in Israel (Intel Corp)
Intel Corp. unveils its highest-performing data-center processor, Ice Lake Server, sired in Israel (Intel Corp)

Intel Corp. has appointed Israeli Shlomit Weiss as co-general manager of the US tech giant’s design engineering group. At her post, Weiss will be responsible for the entire chip development and design process including for computers, laptops and servers, Intel said in a statement on Wednesday.

Weiss will be working from Israel side by side with Sunil Shenoy, who recently re-joined Intel as head of the global engineering group.

“The design engineering group at Intel is responsible for everything” connected to chip design and development, she said in a phone interview. “Sunil and I together are going to manage this organization.”

Her appointment comes as the world is witnessing a global shortage in semiconductors, which is triggering price rises and a lack of supply of products including TVs, cellphones and other electronic devices. The problem developed as factories shut down when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Even with these factories resuming operations, shortages remain as COVID-19 has caused a surge in demand for all things digital.

Intel’s CEO Pat Gelsinger, appointed in January this year, is seeking to reclaim market share lost to chip-making competitors such as AMD, Samsung and TMC, and to roll out the firm’s new chips, which have suffered from delays.

“There is always competition,” said Weiss. “Everything is changing in the world and moving faster, and Intel is also looking at how to be more efficient, how to move faster and how to invent technologies faster. Everyone wants to be first to market.”

Shlomit Weiss has been appointed as co-general manager of Intel Corp.’s chip development and design process (Shlomo Shoham)

Weiss, who has worked in the semiconductor industry for 32 years, will be returning to Intel, where she worked for 28 years of those years before leaving the firm to run chip design at Mellanox Technologies, until its recent acquisition by Intel competitor Nvidia.

Attracting Weiss back to Intel from Nvidia is part of a strategic move Gelsinger has been implementing in recent months. He brought back Sunil Shenoy, who worked at Intel for 33 years before leaving in 2014. Shenoy was joined by Glenn Hinton, the chief architect of Intel’s Nehalem processors, who has also returned to Intel, coming out of retirement to work on new high-performance chip architecture.

“I am thrilled to return to the place that had been my home for 28 years, where I grew and developed professionally, as a manager and as a person,” said Weiss in a statement. “I have been following Intel Corporation’s Pat Gelsinger, charting a new, bold strategy for the company, which I believe will accelerate the company’s leadership. I will devote my energy to ensuring Intel continues to lead in hardware and chips.”

As part of her previous work at Intel, Weiss won the company’s top award, the “Intel Achievement Award,” for developing the firm’s dual-core processor architecture in Israel. She was also in charge of developing Intel’s Sky Lake processor, dubbed the firm’s “best-ever processor” by Intel’s former CEO Brian Krzanich.

While filling a variety of roles at Intel, Weiss “trailblazed the way” for other women in executive technological positions, the statement said. In 2014, she founded the Intel Israel Women Forum, which strives to promote women and ease their challenges in tech roles.

Weiss holds an MSc with honors in electrical engineering from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in computer science, also from the Technion. She has registered several patents on microprocessor development.

Most recently, Weiss wrote and published a book, “Lead with a Soul” (currently available in Hebrew, English version to come in few months), in which she outlines her managerial philosophy, listing three management principles managers should follow: care for people, produce high quality on schedule, and enjoy one’s work.

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