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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger to step down and take over as Intel chief

Pat Gelsinger is calling time on his tenure as CEO at VMware to return to take over the leadership reins at ex-employer Intel

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is stepping down after eight years in the role early in February to take over the company reins of his previous employer, Intel, from its outgoing chief Bob Swan.

Before taking over as CEO of VMWare in 2012, and holding the position of president and chief operating officer at Dell-EMC for three years from September 2009, Gelsinger worked at Intel for 30 years in various roles, including serving as the chipmaker’s CTO.

He will remain a board member of VMware once he departs on 12 February 2021, and is set to start his tenure as Intel’s CEO several days later.

In a statement, Gelsinger said that it will be an “privilege and honour” to return to Intel to serve as its leader after having started his tech career there.

“I have tremendous regard for the company’s rich history and powerful technologies that have created the world’s digital infrastructure,” he said.

“I believe Intel has significant potential to continue to reshape the future of technology and look forward to working with the incredibly talented global Intel team to accelerate innovation and create value for our customers and shareholders.”

His predecessor spent two years heading up Intel following the resignation of its former CEO Brian Krzanich in 2018 for embarking on a consensual relationship with another employee of the firm, which is against company rules.

“My goal over the past two years has been to position Intel for a new era of distributed intelligence, improving execution to strengthen our core CPU franchise and extending our reach to accelerate growth,” said Swan, in a statement.

“With significant progress made across those priorities, we’re now at the right juncture to make this transition to the next leader of Intel.

“I am fully supportive of the board’s selection of Pat and have great confidence that, under his leadership and the rest of the management team, Intel will continue to lead the market as one of the world’s most influential technology companies,” he added.

VMware confirmed in a statement that its board of directors has initiated a search for Gelsinger’s permanent replacement, but – in the interim – its chief financial officer, Zane Rowe, will assume the position of CEO.

VMware board chairman, Michael Dell, said that, during his time as CEO, Gelsinger had “built a solid foundation for future innovation” at the company with Rowe at his side.

“Zane has been a key strategic partner to Pat during this time of growth. His deep knowledge of the company and strong relationships will lead the team well through the transition period,” Dell added.

Expanding on this point, Rowe said that, under Gelsinger, the company had succeeded in “broadening” VMware’s capabilities beyond its roots as a provider of server virtualisation technologies through the creation of a product portfolio spanning cloud, networking, edge computing and 5G.

On the back of this, the company’s revenue has tripled during that time to $12bn, added Rowe.

“VMware remains focused on helping customers optimise their digital infrastructure – from app modernisation and multi-cloud to networking, security and digital workspaces. We look forward to continued growth and innovation across our technology offerings.”

News of Gelsinger’s departure is bound to reignite speculation about its parent company Dell and its plans to spin-off VMware, after the tech giant confirmed reports in the summer of 2020 that this was a move it was considering.

Dell acquired an 80% share in VMWare through its 2015 acquisition of storage giant EMC, although experts have previously told Computer Weekly that it is unlikely – given VMware’s continued dominance within the datacentre sector – that the company would move to divest itself completely of its controlling stake in the firm.

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