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Ex-Barefoot Networks CEO Leaves Intel Less Than Year After Acquisition

Intel confirms to CRN that Craig Barratt, who was the head of the company's Connectivity Group, recently departed the chipmaker to 'pursue a career opportunity outside the company.' The moves comes less than a year after Intel acquired Barratt's company, network programmability specialist Barefoot Networks.

The former CEO of Barefoot Networks has left Intel less than a year after the semiconductor giant acquired the network programmability specialist.

Craig Barratt, who had been head of Intel's Connectivity Group, recently stepped down from his executive management role and left the company to "pursue a career opportunity outside the company," an Intel spokesperson told CRN Wednesday. Taking over his position is Hong Hou, who previously led Intel's Silicon Photonics Product Division within the Connectivity Group.

[Related: Intel CEO Bob Swan To Partners: 'You Can Count On Us']

Barratt did not respond to a request for comment.

Barratt marks the third departure in the last several months of a top executive who came to Intel through an acquisition. Most recently, Naveen Rao, who was Intel's top artificial intelligence executive, left in March after the company decided to wind down development of its Nervana neural network processors that stemmed from Intel's 2016 acquisition of Nervana Systems. Before that, Dan McNamara, who came in through Intel's 2015 acquisition of Altera, departed last October.

Barratt joined Intel through the company's 2019 acquisition of Barefoot Networks, a company he had led since 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile. His most recent title was senior vice president and general manager of the Connectivity Group under Intel's Data Platforms Group, which was established through a reorganization of the company's Data Center Group last November.

Prior to joining Barefoot Networks in 2017, Barratt was the head of Alphabet's Access division that runs the Google Fiber internet service. Before, he was president and CEO of Atheros Communications, a developer of semiconductors for network communications that was acquired by Qualcomm in 2011.

In Barratt's place at Intel, Hou is now corporate vice president and general manager of the Connectivity Group, which encompasses the company's portfolio of Ethernet network interface cards, silicon photonics products, Omni-Path Interconnect products whose development has been discontinued and the programmable Ethernet switches that came from Barefoot Networks.

Before joining in Intel in 2018, Hou was executive vice president and chief technical officer for Fabrinet, a provider of optical and electromechanical process technologies. Prior to that, he was COO of AXT Inc., a provider of VGF wafers for epitaxial growth of electronic and optoelectronic devices.

At the time of the Barefoot Networks acquisition, Intel said that it would add deep expertise in cloud network architectures, P4-programmable high-speed data paths, silicon switching innovation, driver software, network telemetry and computational networking to Intel's portfolio.

In a recent presentation, Mike Zeile, a vice president in Intel's Data Platforms Group, said he has been leading a new initiative in the Connectivity Group to build end-to-end network applications that combine the company's connectivity products to improve data center networking.

For example, Zeile said, the company is using the P4 programmability and network telemetry features of Barefoot Networks' Ethernet switches and applying it across Intel's entire connectivity product portfolio.

"What we're going to be doing is adding the capabilities for programmability and network telemetry across our entire range of products, so that you get an end-to-end holistic ability to program the network and have visibility into what's going on in the network," he said.

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