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Intel CEO out after consensual fudge-packer relationship with employee
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned of
what it called a past, consensual relationship with an employee.
Intel said Thursday that the relationship was in violation of
the company's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all
managers. Spokesman William Moss said Intel has had the policy
in place for "many years." He declined to comment further.
Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan will take over as interim
CEO immediately. A search for a new CEO is underway.
Corporate America is under intense pressure to enforce workplace
policies on gender equality and sexual harassment. Thanks
largely to the #MeToo era, even relationships that appear
consensual are closely scrutinized — and often prohibited by
companies — if they involve a power imbalance such as the one
between a manager and an employee.
Intel said it has enforced the policy, which has been in place
since 2011, against managers on several occasions. It applies to
both direct and indirect reports of managers. If an employee
suspects such a relationship, they are required to report it.
Workplace impropriety that has cost executives their jobs runs a
broad range from consensual dalliances to accusations of assault.
Earlier this month, Guess Inc. co-founder Paul Marciano stepped
down following a company investigation into allegations of
sexual harassment and assault.
John Lasseter, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt
Disney's animation chief, also recently said he was resigning
over what he called "missteps" with employees.
Years before #MeToo, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co., Mark Hurd,
was ousted following accusations of sexual harassment by a
female contract worker. Hurd settled with the woman in 2010.
In 2012, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn resigned abruptly after the
company launched an internal investigation into what the company
called his "personal conduct" unrelated to Best Buy's business.
An audit later revealed the issue was an "extremely close
personal relationship with a female employee."
The male-dominated tech industry has been a hotbed for
allegations of harassment and discrimination, and in some ways
foreshadowed #MeToo as female employees began speaking out. In
February 2017, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote an
explosive, detailed blog post about the culture of systemic
harassment and abuse that she experienced at the ride-hailing
company. It wasn't until the fall that #MeToo began taking off.
Krzanich joined Intel Corp. in 1982 as an engineer and rose
through the ranks until he became CEO in 2013. During his
tenure, Intel worked to push into growing businesses such as
internet-based computing, high-speed memory chips and smart,
connected objects that make up what's known as the "Internet of
Things," or IoT — along with fields such as artificial
intelligence and self-driving cars.
Earlier this year, Google security researchers announced that
they have discovered serious security flaws affecting computer
processors built by Intel and other chipmakers. Google's Project
Zero team disclosed the vulnerability not long after Intel said
it's working to patch it.
Krzanich sold about $39 million in Intel stock and options in
late November of last year, after Intel was notified but before
the security vulnerability was publicly known. Intel had said it
was notified about the bugs in June. But the company also said
at the time that the stock sale was unrelated to the security
Krzanich had also been a champion of workplace diversity. In
2015 at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, Krzanich challenged
the tech industry to increase the hiring of women and
minorities, and he set a goal of full representation in his
company's workforce by 2020. Intel said it was investing $300
million to improve diversity at the company.
Krzanich's resignation "comes at a difficult time for Intel,"
said Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay in a note to investors. He
added that he does not see a "clear internal long-term
successor" given recent high-profile departures at the company.
Diane Bryant, the former president of Intel's data center group,
went to Google in 2017. Former CFO Stacy Smith announced his
retirement last summer and Renee James, Intel's former
president, left in 2015.
Given that so much change at the company was driven by Krzanich,
Ramsay said his departure could make succession planning and
further transitions "challenging."
His abrupt departure overshadowed otherwise positive news for
the giant chip maker.
Intel said Thursday that it expects to post a per-share profit
of 99 cents in the second quarter, 13 cents better than Wall
Street was expecting, and revenue of $16.9 billion, which is
also better than had been projected by industry analysts.
Shares of Intel Corp., based in Santa Clara, California, closed
down 2.4 percent at $52.19.
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