Intel to Take More Risks, Declares CEO in Memo

By Doug Black

December 20, 2017

In a year-end call-to-arms memo sent to all Intel employees, CEO Brian Krzanich declared that “the new normal” at Intel will be change and risk-taking. According to a published story by CNBC, Krzanich said the company faces “an exciting challenge” in strategic, or “new growth,” markets (connected devices, AI, autonomous driving) where other companies have forged ahead of the chip giant.

Krzanich said Intel is on the path to transitioning from being a client computing (PC)-first business.

“We’re just inches away from being a 50/50 company, meaning that half our revenue comes from the PC and half from new growth markets,” he wrote. “In many of these new markets we are definitely the underdog. That’s an exciting challenge – it requires that we develop and use new, different muscles.

“The new normal for Intel is that we are going to take more risks,” he continued. “The new normal is that we will continue to make bold moves and try new things. We’ll make mistakes. Bold doesn’t always mean right or perfect. The new normal is that we’ll get good at trying new things, determining what works and moving forward.

Driving Krzanich’s vision is his determination that Intel become a data driven company – i.e., focused on delivering technologies that support data-intensive workloads.

Brian Krzanich

“It’s almost impossible to perfectly predict the future, but if there’s one thing about the future I am 100 percent sure of, it is the role of data,” he said. “Data is becoming the most valuable asset for any company. That’s why our growth strategy is centered on data: memory, FPGAs, IOT, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving. Anything that produces data, anything that requires a lot of computing, the vision is, we’re there. I believe almost everything that impacts our lives—whether it’s healthcare or driving, retail or government—it will all be touched by our technology over the next 5 to 10 years. The world will run on Intel silicon.”

For a historical reference to the change Intel is undergoing now, he drew a parallel to the company’s wrenching decision to abandon the DRAM business and move into the processor business in the mid-1980s, not long after Intel hired Krzanich.

“…I watched as Intel made a massive shift. It required downsizing, new investments, and a lot of change. Yet in December 1997—20 years ago this month—Time magazine named then-Intel CEO Andy Grove its Man of the Year,” he said. “Under his leadership, Intel had transformed from embattled memory maker to the world’s leading microprocessor company and a leader of the digital revolution. Two decades later, Intel is again reinventing itself…”

Krzanich in 2013 took over the top spot at Intel, which has engaged in a series of acquisitions that has broadened the company’s portfolio and market range; these include acquisitions of Mobileye (self-driving car technology), Movidius (computer vision), Nervana (AI-specific processors) and Altera (FPGAs).

“We have the opportunity to look to the future and embrace a new Intel,” Krzanich said, “a different, fast-paced, global enterprise that’s adapting and growing.”

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