When Intel CEO Bob Swan announced he’d be stepping down effective February 15, it was revealed that former VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, would be taking over the top job at the chipmaker company.
During Swan’s tenure, Intel has suffered blows from competitors. Over the summer, Intel reported that its latest generation chips would be delayed while AMD’s were already shipping inside laptops. Apple announced in the fall that it will use its own proprietary chips in its Mac computers, breaking a 15-year partnership with Intel for its chip supplies.
Notably, Swan didn’t come from a technical background, having previously served as CFO. Though, with Gelsinger, that won’t be the case, since he previously worked at Intel, and eventually became the company’s first chief technology officer. According to a report from analysis firm Technology Business Research's (TBR) principal analysts Geoff Woollacott and Ezra Gottheil, Gelsinger’s return to Intel is being compared to “Steve Jobs’ second tour of duty at Apple.”
While the executive’s return to Intel is cause for celebration, his departure from VMware doesn’t bode well for the virtualization giant. Gelsinger is just one of many executives to have recently left VMware. In June 2020, VMware lost its senior vice president of worldwide customer services, Jim Delia, to ServiceNow, followed in July by chief customer officer Scott Bajtos who left for FinancialForce.
This was followed by Chief Operating Officer Rajiv Ramaswami who left VMware to become CEO of rival Nutanix. VMware is taking Ramaswami to court for “material and ongoing breaches of his legal and contractual duties and obligations to VMware,” the company said in a statement.
Just weeks after Ramaswami’s departure, the company’s cloud management head Ajay Singh left to become Chief Product Officer for storage standout Pure Storage.
Now, Gelsinger’s departure comes as VMware continues to work out its possible split from parent company Dell Technologies, which many expect to happen later this year. While Gelsinger returning to Intel where he spent 30 years isn’t directly tied to the Dell spinoff, it certainly complicates matters.