News [intel] Jim Keller resigns from Intel

Det0x

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Changes in Intel’s Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group
Jim Keller to Depart Intel; New Leaders Named

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 11, 2020 – Today, Intel announced that Jim Keller has resigned effective June 11, 2020, due to personal reasons. Intel appreciates Mr. Keller’s work over the past two years helping them continue advancing Intel’s product leadership and they wish him and his family all the best for the future. Intel is pleased to announce, however, that Mr. Keller has agreed to serve as a consultant for six months to assist with the transition.
Intel has a vastly experienced team of technical leaders within its Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG) under the leadership of Dr. Venkata (Murthy) Renduchintala, group president of TSCG and chief engineering officer. As part of this transition, the following leadership changes will be made, effective immediately:
  • Sundari Mitra, the former CEO and founder of NetSpeed Systems and the current leader of Intel’s Configurable Intellectual Property and Chassis Group, will lead a newly created IP Engineering Group focused on developing best-in-class IP.
  • Gene Scuteri, an accomplished engineering leader in the semiconductor industry, will head the Xeon and Networking Engineering Group.
  • Daaman Hejmadi will return to leading the Client Engineering Group focused on system-on-chip (SoC) execution and designing next-generation client, device and chipset products. Hejmadi has over two decades of experience leading teams delivering advanced SoCs both inside and outside of Intel.
  • Navid Shahriari, an experienced Intel leader, will continue to lead the Manufacturing and Product Engineering Group, which is focused on delivering comprehensive pre-production test suites and component debug capabilities to enable high-quality, high-volume manufacturing.
Intel congratulates Sundari, Gene, Daaman and Navid as we begin the next phase of our world-class engineering organization and look forward to executing on our exciting roadmap of products.

link
 

moinmoin

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Oof.

The fact that "Mr. Keller has agreed to serve as a consultant for six months to assist with the transition" tells me his work wasn't done, unlike with the previous cases where he left and his work turned up in public products later.
 

Gideon

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Anandtech article. He was there to fix the mess:

Anandtech said:
With our interview with Jim Keller, several weeks after taking the job at Intel, we learned that Keller went in to the company with a spanner. Keller has repeatedly said that he’s a fixer, more than a visionary, and Intel would allow him to effect change at a larger scale than he had ever done previously.
I wonder If he'll start having dealings with Nuvia. He seems to be "the only rockstar missing from the band"
 

uzzi38

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Uh oh. This can only ever be a result of three things:

1. Actual personal reasons. In which case I wish him well, seriously.
2. His work at the company was done and he wanted to move on. But this seems rather unlikely given is tenure there was extremely short for him.
3. He's another person to be the victim of internal politics at Intel
 

maddie

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Uh oh. This can only ever be a result of three things:

1. Actual personal reasons. In which case I wish him well, seriously.
2. His work at the company was done and he wanted to move on. But this seems rather unlikely given is tenure there was extremely short for him.
3. He's another person to be the victim of internal politics at Intel
Consulting for a 6 month transition appears to remove #1
#2 seems correct
#3 might be right

or 4. Intel is refusing to reform in the ways he thinks is correct. Get out before wasting any more time. So many hours in a lifetime, etc.
 

lobz

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Uh oh. This can only ever be a result of three things:

1. Actual personal reasons. In which case I wish him well, seriously.
2. His work at the company was done and he wanted to move on. But this seems rather unlikely given is tenure there was extremely short for him.
3. He's another person to be the victim of internal politics at Intel
It's probably because of #3 he gave in to reasons in #1, which he wouldn't otherwise have.
 

Markfw

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Consulting for a 6 month transition appears to remove #1
#2 seems correct
#3 might be right

or 4. Intel is refusing to reform in the ways he thinks is correct. Get out before wasting any more time. So many hours in a lifetime, etc.
I think regardless, we can all agree, Intel is in even more trouble.
 

EXCellR8

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The company does look more and more past it's prime from the outside looking in. Gone are the days of being so far ahead of the competition, at least for now.

I couldn't stand with a company that does 5-digit SKU naming for their processors either.
 

JasonLD

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Uh oh. This can only ever be a result of three things:

1. Actual personal reasons. In which case I wish him well, seriously.
2. His work at the company was done and he wanted to move on. But this seems rather unlikely given is tenure there was extremely short for him.
3. He's another person to be the victim of internal politics at Intel
I kinda doubt 3 is the case since Keller was influential in bringing in Sundari Mitra when they acquired Netspeed. Given the Keller's role at Intel, I think his job is pretty much done at this point on restructuring and realigning future roadmap on process and architecture.
 

itsmydamnation

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I kinda doubt 3 is the case since Keller was influential in bringing in Sundari Mitra when they acquired Netspeed. Given the Keller's role at Intel, I think his job is pretty much done at this point on restructuring and realigning future roadmap on process and architecture.
I dont see how this makes sense, he was at amd for example for 3 years. AMD engineering teams and scope of engineering is far less then intels
he was at PA semi for 4 years again a smaller more focused operation
he was at tesla for over 2 years again a smaller more focused operation
i cant figure out when he left apple but fair chance he was there for over 2 years ( resided over mutlipule chips)

But intel , the company notorious for internal politics , notorious for doing things the old way, has had big issues in manufacturing. Has a massive engineering base, he fixed all that in 2 years, yeah i dont buy it.
 

JasonLD

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Aug 22, 2017
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Intel, at last
By the beginning of 2018, Intel was growing desperate for engineering help, amid delays in bringing new chips to market and the struggles of its tablet and 5G efforts. It was the very depth of those struggles that attracted Keller, who left Tesla and joined Intel, his on-and-off rival for decades, in April 2018.

“Intel reminds me of Digital [DEC],” Keller says. “It has the technical excellence and [culture of] collaboration, but sometimes the collaboration goes way too far.” One meeting he attended early on had 50 participants debating what he considered a simple topic. “At Tesla if that ever happened, Elon would just kill everybody,” he says. Drawing on insights he gained from both Musk and Jobs, Keller has been seeking to streamline procedures, reduce the size of teams, and cut back on meetings. He has also replaced all the nontechnical managers overseeing engineers in his division. “If you take a nontechnical manager a problem you’re having, [the manager] just has one more problem he can’t solve,” Keller explains.

Nearly 40 years into his career, Keller isn’t just relying on old relationships with the DEC gang at Intel. He’s been constantly expanding his network at every stop. Sundari Mitra, cofounder of a chip-design startup called NetSpeed, recalls visiting Tesla in February 2016 to present the company’s processor-design methodology to Keller. When the team’s first slide went up, Keller grimaced. Mitra sensed a fellow chip intellectual who didn’t need or appreciate the marketing chatter in her deck—and the two quickly began dissecting the problem in a deeper way on a whiteboard. “Jim doesn’t care about the high level, he gets that intuitively,” Mitra recalls. “He wanted the third level and the fourth and the fifth level.” Keller soon became Mitra’s mentor—and in September 2018, Intel acquired NetSpeed, reuniting the student and pupil.

Keller won’t talk much about the massive chip redesign he’s overseeing—chip designers seldom do—and Intel’s new chip probably won’t be ready for another year or two. Still, both Intel and Keller have scattered some clues about how the chips might work. The new chips will cleanly separate major functions, to make it easier for the company to improve one section at a time—an approach that evokes the chiplet model Keller used at AMD. Keller also hints that Intel’s low-power Atom line of chips may figure more prominently in his future designs for PCs and servers. Artificial intelligence capabilities are clearly on the agenda: Keller has been haunting A.I. symposia and reading prodigiously, learning everything he can about where the field of A.I. applications is likely to go for the next five or 10 years.

Intel may also turn to outside vendors’ technology for some features, instead of always inventing its own solutions. “Prior to Jim coming, I don’t think that’s a transformation that we would have undertaken,” says Boyd Phelps, a vice president in Keller’s engineering group.

Analysts are split over whether Keller will be as successful at Intel as he’s been at so many of his past stops. “They need something big, that’s for sure, and he’s a big name,” says Bernstein Research analyst Stacy Rasgon. “I don’t know how he’s going to deal with all the legacy baggage. Check back in a few years.”

Of course, Keller has a history of converting legacy baggage into something lighter, simpler, and sleeker. After most of the country went into lockdown, Keller spoke with Fortune by phone from his home in Silicon Valley. His two teenage daughters were busy grappling with online classes, but Keller wasn’t worried about them. “These things normalize so fast,” he said. “Humans figure everything out.” And some humans do that much faster than others.
This is most recent article from Fortune that briefly explained Keller's role at Intel. I do think Keller has already finished what he was intended to do at Intel and ready to move on.
 
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Hitman928

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Staying on as a consultant could easily fall under truly leaving for personal reasons. It's very possible that the personal reasons forced him to leave earlier than he wanted but he is still able to help at a reduced capacity long enough to make sure everything gets wrapped up and handed off to the next person. Going from full time + to say 20 - 25 hours a week of consulting work leaves a lot of time to address personal issues.

Of course this could just be arranged to save face for Intel, I doubt we ever find out the whole story of Keller's time there.
 

JasonLD

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I dont see how this makes sense, he was at amd for example for 3 years. AMD engineering teams and scope of engineering is far less then intels
he was at PA semi for 4 years again a smaller more focused operation
he was at tesla for over 2 years again a smaller more focused operation
i cant figure out when he left apple but fair chance he was there for over 2 years ( resided over mutlipule chips)

But intel , the company notorious for internal politics , notorious for doing things the old way, has had big issues in manufacturing. Has a massive engineering base, he fixed all that in 2 years, yeah i dont buy it.
If, for the political reason, that Intel didn't like what Keller was doing in the first place, I don't think Intel would ask him to serve a consultant role for 6 months for transition. I sure hope it isn't anything major health related because that is one of the possibilities.
 

itsmydamnation

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If, for the political reason, that Intel didn't like what Keller was doing in the first place, I don't think Intel would ask him to serve a consultant role for 6 months for transition. I sure hope it isn't anything major health related because that is one of the possibilities.
Your looking at this wrong, big orgs ( i work for a 400k people technology org) are made up of many layers of politics. The people that Jim report to can be all for what hes doing yet the greater structure resistant. If your Jim do you want to work in an environment you have to fight to get change or work for a place that is accepting of change. Dont under estimate the destructive power of middle management and my experience is there can be big disconnects between upper and middle management.
 

JasonLD

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Your looking at this wrong, big orgs ( i work for a 400k people technology org) are made up of many layers of politics. The people that Jim report to can be all for what hes doing yet the greater structure resistant. If your Jim do you want to work in an environment you have to fight to get change or work for a place that is accepting of change. Dont under estimate the destructive power of middle management and my experience is there can be big disconnects between upper and middle management.
That is your assumption. There is nothing out there that indicates he left Intel on bad faith. This isn't something we will find out in 2-3 years since Keller's role isn't something that will show overnight. If Intel manages to right the ship in 2022-23 then Keller has worked just enough to right the ship, if not, then we can speculate if Keller's departure was due to internal politic. Until then, only thing we can say is that he resigned from his role for personal reasons, nothing more.
 
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Markfw

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Your looking at this wrong, big orgs ( i work for a 400k people technology org) are made up of many layers of politics. The people that Jim report to can be all for what hes doing yet the greater structure resistant. If your Jim do you want to work in an environment you have to fight to get change or work for a place that is accepting of change. Dont under estimate the destructive power of middle management and my experience is there can be big disconnects between upper and middle management.
I said this before, I will say it again here.... The company that I retired from was much the same. I told the VP of finance about a problem, and his answer was "its beyond my pay grade to effect such a change". The problem was the the SENIOR VP disagreed with him, so he could do nothing, even though he agreed I was right.

The same probably happened here IMO.
 

lobz

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Your looking at this wrong, big orgs ( i work for a 400k people technology org) are made up of many layers of politics. The people that Jim report to can be all for what hes doing yet the greater structure resistant. If your Jim do you want to work in an environment you have to fight to get change or work for a place that is accepting of change. Dont under estimate the destructive power of middle management and my experience is there can be big disconnects between upper and middle management.
This.

Destructive (or more like 'nothing is too expensive if it's for my own benefit') middle management and 100% disconnected upper management/ownership are what I've seen at every bigger company I've had the (mis)fortune to work at.
 

IntelUser2000

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Taking from the Cannonlake thread.

Maybe there is a project that absolutely needs to be finished up and the two parties came to an agreement. Anyway, just spitballing at the moment.
Damn PR. They never tell you straight, but you intuitively know the real reason.

Many managers from Intel that quit due to "personal reasons" just moved to another company in a few short months from the announcement.

When Brian Kraznich got fired the excuse was that because he messed around with a subordinate. Anyone with a tiny bit of clue knew it was complete fabrication.

Newsflash! Big companies don't really care about those things. You do not fire a person in such an important position for something as trivial as that, no matter what they pretend the company policy might be. But for managers its held as something that can be used AGAINST you if you do something they don't like.

The best scenario I can see from this is that he fixed all he could, and the rest is up to people left at Intel. Whether that's enough time will tell us.
 

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