News on the wire today is that Intel has rehired 28-year veteran Shlomit Weiss into the position of Senior VP and Co-General Manager of Intel’s Design Engineering Group (DEG), a position recently vacated by Uri Frank who left to head up Google’s SoC development. As reported in Tom’s Hardware and confirmed in her own LinkedIn announcement, Weiss will be working at Intel’s Israel design center alongside Sunil Shenoy and is ‘committed to ensuring that the company continues to lead in developing chips’. Weiss is the latest in an ever-growing list of ‘re-hiring’ Intel veterans, which leads to the problem that at some point Intel will run out of ex-employees to rehire and instead nurture internal talent for those roles.

In her first 28-year stint at Intel, Weiss is reported to have lead the team that developed both Intel Sandy Bridge and Intel Skylake, arguably two of the company’s most important processor families over the last decade: Sandy Bridge reaffirmed Intel’s lead in the market with a new base microarchitecture and continues in its 6+th generation in Comet Lake today, while Skylake has been Intel’s most profitable microarchitecture ever. Weiss also received Intel’s Achievement Award, the company’s highest offer, but is not listed as an Intel Fellow, while CRN reports that Weiss also founded the Intel Israel Women Forum in 2014. Weiss left Intel in September 2017 to join Mellanox/NVIDIA, where she held the role of Senior VP Silicon Engineering and ran the company’s networking chip design group.

In her new role at Intel, Tom’s is reporting that Weiss will lead all of Intel’s consumer chip development and design, while the other Co-GM of Intel DEG Sunil Shenoy will lead the data center design initiatives.

If you’ve been following the news of Intel’s personnel of late, you might start to learn a pattern:

  • Dec 20: Intel hires Masooma Bhaiwala (16-year AMD veteran)
  • Jan 21: Intel rehires Glenn Hinton (35-year Intel veteran, Senior Fellow)
  • Jan 27: Intel rehires Sunil Shenoy (33-year Intel veteran)
  • Jan 27: Intel hires Guido Appenzeller (various)
  • Feb 15: Intel rehires Pat Gelsinger (30-year Intel veteran)
  • Mar 17: Intel rehires Sanjay Natarajan (22-year veteran)
  • May 28: Intel hires Ali Ibrahim (13-year AMD veteran, Senior Fellow)
  • June 7: Intel hires Hong Hao (13-year Samsung veteran)
  • June 8: Intel rehires Stuart Pann (33-year Intel veteran)
  • June 8: Intel rehires Bob Brennan (22-year Intel veteran)
  • June 8: Intel hires Nick McKeown (27-year Stanford professor)
  • June 8: Intel hires Greg Lavender (35-year Sun/Citi/VMWare)
  • July 6: Intel rehires Shlomit Weiss (28-year Intel veteran)

Of these named hires (plenty of other people hired below the role of VP), seven are listed as ex-Intel employees being rehired into the company, mostly into engineering-focused positions. These ex-Intel engineers have a long line of accolades at the company, having worked on and built the fundamental technologies that power Intel today. The exact reasons why they left Intel in the first place are varied, with some peers are keen to cite brain drain during CEO Brian Krzanich’s tenure, however it would appear that the promise of working on fundamental next-generation hardware, along with popular CEO Pat Gelsinger, is enough of an allure to get them to return.

It should be noted however that number of engineers that Intel could rehire is limited – going after key personnel critical to Intel’s growth in the last few decades, despite their lists of successful products and accolades, can’t be the be-all and end-all of Intel’s next decade of growth. If we’re strictly adhering to typical retirement ages as well, a number of them will soon be at that level within the next ten years. Intel can’t keep rehiring veteran talent into key positions to get to the next phase in its product evolution – at some level it has to reignite the initial passion from within.

Intel’s key personnel are often home-grown, or what we call ‘lifers’, who spend 20+ years of the company typically straight out of university or college – every rehire on this list fits into this image, especially CEO Pat Gelsinger, and a number of contacts I have within the company are identical. However if Intel is having to rehire those who enabled former glory for the company, one has to wonder exactly what is going on such that talent already within the company isn’t stepping up. At some point these veterans will retire, and Intel will be at a crossroads. In a recent interview with former Intel SVP Jim Keller, he stated that (paraphrased) ‘building a chip design team at a company depends on volume – you hire in if you don’t have the right people, but if you have a team of 1000, then there are people there and it’s a case of finding the right ones’. In a company of 110000 employees, it seems odd that Intel feels it has to rehire to fill those key roles. Some might question if those rehires would have left in the first place if Intel’s brain drain had never occurred, but it poses an interesting question nonetheless.

Source: Tom’s Hardware, CRN
Image: LinkedIn

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  • flgt - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    Unfortunately for a company as big as Intel more drastic changes will be required to help change the culture. They should take their medicine now and trim 10-20% of the rank and file and 20-40% of the management. They can’t just add a bunch of new, expensive management and become even more top heavy. They are looking more and more like a big company at the end of its lifecycle. With this much management overhead and the expense of running fabs, the house could quickly fall in on them.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    Layoffs are a way of life, at Intel.

    I take it you're just annoyed that they're not planning any more stock buybacks?
  • flgt - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    They've been running pretty hot for awhile so I don't think they've had significant layoffs outside of acquisitions they've run into the ground. Besides my massive profits from the stock buyback there are some good reasons for trimming the workforce:

    1) Bad management teams tend to accumulate a significant number of under qualified and under performing workers.
    2) Bad management teams lack focus and start many dead-end pet projects.
    3) The numbers are showing a significant loss of market share and ASP for Intel. And they need significant funding for underperforming fabs. They really need a good product end of this year or next, or their hand could be forced.

    The idea here is not to make a quick buck, but to improve the health and performance of the business. Now will they do this? Will they do it in a competent manner? Probably not. Will it be screwed up by political infighting and political correctness. More likely. Hard to see them stopping the tail spin against better performing management teams and companies they are competing against.
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    > Will it be screwed up by political infighting and political correctness.

    Well, the most charitable view I can see of what Pat is doing is to get people under him that he trusts, precisely as a way to cut through the political BS.
  • dwightlooi - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    Well, perhaps they had engaged in too much diversity hiring, woke human resource or any of the brown racist nonsense. Perhaps it's a good thing that they are going back to merit and experience.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, July 8, 2021 - link

    Two racist posts in a row in this topic.

    Instead of your ‘perhaps’ you should have some substance. That also goes for the ‘political correctness’ post above.

    When people use that intellectually barren/craven phrase they are clumsily demanding their own ‘political correctness’. All politics is about correctness. That should be obvious but obvious truths are in short supply.

    There is a lot to be said for requiring tech folk to get a liberal arts education. ‘Perhaps’ they wouldn’t foist such stunted attempts at political philosophy.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, July 8, 2021 - link

    Full disclosure: From my experience there is no shortage of intellectually-stunted Ph.Ds in the humanities. Quality varies tremendously. I had a conversion with one tenured buffoon who, among other joyous beauties, demanded that I not speak to him about social justice. A career of naval gazing left him woefully underprepared for the challenge of expressing his demand in a non-stunted non-fraudulent manner.

    ‘Social justice’ is a redundancy just like ‘political correctness’. Complaints about either are deception wherein the complainer merely wants their politics to win, typically irrespective of their factuality.
  • flgt - Thursday, July 8, 2021 - link

    OK, you can call it whatever you learned in liberal arts school. It’s not philosophy, it is just how things work. The point is at any large company like Intel (especially if they are involved in government contracting), HR is not going to let a manager just hire or layoff anyone they want. They are gonna roll up the numbers and ensure they do not violate any metrics they have in place, regardless of any one individuals performance. Note this is not just race and sex, they are also looking at things like age. They are trying to minimize any issues with government contracts and lawsuits, as well as any negative press or social media.
  • mode_13h - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    > any large company like Intel (especially if they are involved in government contracting),
    > HR is not going to let a manager just hire or layoff anyone they want.

    HR has certain "protected classes" of employees, who are eligible to sue for things like discrimination.

    That doesn't mean other classes of employees have no standing, however. At my employer, a group of employees opened a HR case because their manager (a Chinese national) seemed to be considering only Chinese candidates for job openings in their group. I don't know how the case ended up, but that group was taken out from under that manager (but possibly due to another allegation against him).

    These are all costs to the business they don't have to deal with, in most other countries.
  • vladx - Saturday, July 10, 2021 - link

    If promoting meritocracy over PC is racist nowadays, that just goes to show how crazy American society has gotten.

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