After a seven-month search for a new chief executive, Intel has gone inside once again by choosing Bob Swan.
Swan, the chief financial officer for the Santa Clara chip maker who has been serving as interim CEO since the departure of Brian Krzanich in June over a relationship with an employee, will also join the company’s board of directors. Swan, 58, becomes just the seventh CEO of Intel, the iconic Silicon Valley company that turned 50 last year.
Intel shares fell more than 2 percent Thursday morning, to $46.46.
“This was a surprise,” said Angelo Zino, analyst with CFRA Research, on Thursday. “Bob Swan repeatedly said he wasn’t interested in the long-term position. Swan sort of alluded to it during last week’s earnings call, during which there were no hint the top job would go to Swan, Zino said.
Swan said on the call he was “convinced the board of directors will close on a new CEO in the near future.”
Intel last week posted disappointing fourth-quarter results, with sales across all segments failing to meet analysts’ expectations. In addition, Swan issued a weak outlook for 2019, citing concerns about China trade, and memory chips.
Zino also noted that Swan doesn’t have extensive experience with semiconductors.
Swan joined Intel as CFO in 2016, and had held the same position for nearly a decade at eBay, where he remains a board member. Before joining Intel, he was an operating partner at growth equity firm General Atlantic. He also held top executive roles at Webvan, including CEO.
In announcing the move Thursday, Intel Chairman Andy Bryant praised Swan’s performance for the past seven months and said the company had conducted a thorough search for the top job internally and externally.
“Bob’s performance, his knowledge of the business, his command of our growth strategy, and the respect he has earned from our customers, our owners, and his colleagues confirmed he is the right executive to lead Intel,” Bryant said in a statement.
Another analyst said it made sense for Intel to choose someone from within.
“Intel‘s strategy is the right one, the company needs to improve its execution, and bringing in an outsider without Intel experience didn’t make sense,” Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, said Thursday.
In an email to employees Thursday, Swan emphasized that Intel is in transformation mode “from PC-centric to data-centric.”
“Intel has an amazing legacy, but our aspirations have grown,” Swan said. “We need to continue to evolve to continue making Intel’s future even brighter than our storied past.”
Former CEO Kraznich left the company and its board last summer after having a consensual relationship with an employee, which the company said violated its non-fraternization policy.
Todd Underwood, vice president of finance, will serve as CFO as the company looks for someone to fill the spot.