‘The geek is back’ declares Intel’s CEO

December 2, 2021, 11:35 AM UTC

Good morning, 

Enterprise transformation is no small feat. But the stakes become high when you’re a tech company spending billions of dollars to do so. 

In February, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger took on the job of “turning around an icon; the company that put ‘Silicon’ into Silicon Valley,” Gelsinger said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Wednesday. Now, “do that in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a global semiconductor shortage, and in the context of a geopolitically unstable situation—that’s a big job,” he said.

Gelsinger returned to Intel, where he began his career in 1979, to work towards returning the tech giant to a leading position in the marketplace, he said. “Over a 10-year period, the company got into a bad spot,” he explained. That included shuttering process technology and losing its sense of culture, Gelsinger said. To get back on track, Intel had to return to its roots as a “data-driven, engineering and technology-centric company,” he said. “As I like to call it, the geek is back,” Gelsinger commented. “We’ve brought in key technology leaders, revised and rolled out values again, and radically increased our capital budget, so [we’re] redoubling on manufacturing.”

Intel has invested $20 billion to build two major chip factories, called fabs, in Arizona. “I just did groundbreaking on those about 45 days ago,” Gelsinger said. “Most of the forecasts would be that by the end of the decade, the semiconductor industry will have gone from being a $500 billion industry to a trillion-dollar industry.”

Staying competitive will take a lot of capital over the years. Gelsinger estimated the company will spend a net of $25 to $28 billion on its factories next year, and more thereafter. “We are in a time of accelerated investment in capital, process node acceleration and R&D as the foundation for changing the trajectory of the past few years,” Intel CFO George Davis said during the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call. Davis is retiring in May.

“There’s only three companies in the world that could do leading edge process technology,” he said. “TSMC, and Taiwan is not a stable place. Korea with Samsung, and the United States with Intel.”

Fortune CEO Alan Murray asked Gelsinger if Intel can effectively compete with the two companies. “We’ve laid out a path, and I’m confident,” Gelsinger said. “The financial community, they’re not convinced yet; we have to give them more evidence along the way.”

He added, “Where the fabs are for the next couple of decades is more important than where the oil reserves are. It’s that important to the nation [and]to the economy.”

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

Global advisory company Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) released a survey on Nov. 30 on COVID-19 vaccination mandates in U.S. workplaces. About 57% of all employers surveyed either require or plan to require vaccinations. This percentage includes 18% that currently require vaccinations, 32% that plan to require vaccinations only if OSHA's emergency temporary standard (ETS) takes effect, and 7% that plan to have vaccination mandates regardless of the ETS status. The report also found that just 3% of employers with vaccination mandates have reported an increase in resignations. Meanwhile, 31% of those with mandates pending are concerned it will lead to resignations, and almost half (48%) believe the mandate could attract and retain talent. The findings are based on a survey of 543 U.S. employers. Respondents employ 5.2 million workers, according to Willis Towers Watson.

Going deeper

In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, the online business analysis journal, released Nov. 30, Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli, speaks about his report latest report with Indeed, Let’s Stop Guessing: Here’s What’s Truly Changing About Work. The research suggests it's time for employers to rethink what they are offering as the COVID-pandemic has changed worker preferences.


Timothy R. Kraus was named SVP and CFO at Dana Incorporated (NYSE: DAN). Kraus succeeds Jonathan Collins, who will be leaving Dana to become CFO of Clarivate plc (NYSE: CLVT). Collins will continue with Dana through Dec. 15 to assist with the transition. With company with more than a decade, Kraus most recently served as SVP of finance and treasurer. In addition, he led Dana's tax and business development activities. Prior to joining Dana in 2010, Kraus held a number of leadership roles with Intelsat S.A., Lear Corporation, and Ernst & Young LLP.

Sarah Youngwood was named CFO at UBS Group AG (NYSE:UBS), effective in May 2022. Current CFO Kirt Gardner has decided to step down from his role. Since 2016, Youngwood has been CFO of JPMorgan Chase’s Consumer and Community Banking line of business. Since 2020, her role has also included leading finance for the firm’s global technology unit, as well as the diversity and inclusion team. Between 2012 and 2016, Youngwood served as head of investor relations for JPMorgan Chase. Prior to that, she spent 14 years in various roles in the Financial Institutions Group within JPM’s Investment Bank in Paris, London, and New York.


“It’s continuous; you finish one thing and then there’s another thing and another thing. It’s not just starting from one point and getting to a destination.”

—Marianna Tessel, EVP and chief technology officer at tax software maker Intuit, explains why real digital transformation is never ending, as told to Fortune.

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