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Gelsinger. Photo: Intel

Intel said Wednesday that VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will return to the chipmaker as CEO, with current chief Bob Swan stepping down as of Feb. 15.

Why it matters: Intel faces a host of challenges from manufacturing issues to competition from rival AMD to Apple's move to use homegrown chips in the Mac.

Between the lines: Intel's woes have spurred calls for a leadership shake-up including from activist investor Third Point.

The other side: The company said in its press release announcing the CEO shift that it expects to exceed its earnings and revenue guidance for the fourth quarter when it reports earnings on Jan. 21.

  • The release also said the company "has made strong progress" on its next generation 7-nanometer manufacturing technology and will give a further update when it reports earnings.

Background: Gelsinger worked at Intel for three decades starting at age 18, rising to the upper executive ranks before leaving.

What they're saying: "My experience at Intel has shaped my entire career, and I am forever grateful to this company," Gelsinger said in a memo to Intel workers.

  • "To come back “home” to Intel in the role of CEO during what is such a critical time for innovation, as we see the digitization of everything accelerating, will be the greatest honor of my career."

Meanwhile: VMware said CFO Zane Rowe will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for Gelsinger's replacement. Gelsigner will remain on VMware's board of directors.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: Global data-driven change

On Thursday, January 27, Axios' Ina Fried hosted a conversation on the social impact of Big Data, featuring Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) and former U.S. chief technology officer and founder and CEO of shift7, Megan Smith.

Megan Smith. unpacked how data can help solve some of the biggest equity issues across our economy and society today, and the importance of having everyone at the table.

  • On solving social issues that are exacerbated by new technologies: "It's just not for the tech community to decide [how to fix this] on behalf of all of us, especially because they face extraordinary bias in their hiring practices and their teams' dismissiveness of people who are not of a certain group."
  • On how the government should approach solving problems that cross technological and policy divides: "The key there is less about what and more about who. Who is in the government teams, who is actually in the tech teams? Are they more balanced? How do we get more of society at the table together so that we're more fluent as we work on this?"

Rep. Yvette Clarke highlighted the risks and rewards of using Big Data, as well as the shared responsibility of the public and private sectors to keep the public informed.

  • On how algorithms can amplify existing biases: "[Big Data] can be great in making advances in our civil society. The other side is it can become a mirror of some of the inequities that exist in the real world...and that reflection can be programmed into algorithms."
  • On a balanced approach to technology regulation: "I really want to make sure that the public is educated and informed...[That] we also hold the companies accountable for the ways in which they perpetuate harm in certain respects and reward where they're doing good."

Axios' Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Intel Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer Sandra Rivera to discuss collaboration and creating change from within the tech industry.

  • "We have convened other industry leaders to really drive meaningful, lasting change forward. This is such a big challenge and opportunity. It doesn't really work that any one company can do [it] alone: We take our role in terms of leading that work by participating, collaborating with other tech giants."

Thank you Intel for sponsoring this event.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, walks to the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18, 2022. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

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