Randhir Thakur, president of Intel’s foundry services division, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities, according to reports
The development of foundry services is a key part of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s plan to revitalize Intel. It is something that Intel has tried to do before, unsuccessfully. With the arrival of Gelsinger as CEO the move has been resurrected.
Intel has said Thakur will stay on through 1Q23 to ensure a smooth transition to a new leader. It was separately said that Thakur would stay until Intel completes its acquisition of specialist foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel)(see Intel set to buy foundry Tower for $5.4 billion).
Intel is going through the difficult process of splitting its chip design and delivery business from its chip manufacturing business and setting that up as a foundry to also serve external customers. The process is a long-term one and has made little progress so far with the foundry market dominated by TSMC and Samsung and Intel needing to go to TSMC to get its advanced logic chips made.
The acquisition of Tower is seen as a key element in setting up Intel Foundry Services because it will help inject a greater sense of ‘service culture’ into the chip manufacturing giant, something that was missing when Intel previously offered to make chips for other companies. This has led to speculation that the job of leading Intel Foundry Services is set to go to the CEO of Tower, Russell Ellwanger, after the merger, and that this has prompted Thakur to tender his resignation.
However, things could take yet another unfortunate twist for Intel.
The Tower acquisition deal was announced in February 2022 with the expectation it would close within about 12 months. In other words, by the end of 1Q23. The deal is subject to regulatory approval from China, amongst other jurisdictions, and there is the possibility that this could be withheld.
If China throws a spanner in the works just be declining to approve the takeover Intel could end up without Tower, without Ellwanger and without Thakur.
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