8 Bold Statements From Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger

Gelsinger promises leadership products and a return to process leadership in his first remarks as Intel’s incoming CEO. ‘We’re committed to leading innovation and delivering the best products for our customers in every category that we participate in,’ he says.

Intel ‘Has Its Best Days In Front Of Us’

While Pat Gelsinger won’t become Intel’s CEO until mid-February, he came out swinging in the company’s Thursday earnings call and promised a return to greatness for the chipmaker.

“Great companies are able to come back from periods of difficulty and challenge and then come back stronger, better and more capable than ever,” he said in his first public remarks as Intel’s incoming leader. “And that I believe is the opportunity at Intel, and I’m confident that this company has its best days in front of us, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to be part of that.”

[Related: Pat Gelsinger’s Tech Background Key To Intel’s Rebound: Partners]

While Intel delivered strong results for the fourth quarter and exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for earnings and revenue, the chipmaker has fallen behind in what has historically been a core strength, process manufacturing, which had been a chief factor in helping Intel make smaller, more efficient chips. The company’s struggles with manufacturing has resulted in delays for both 10-nanometer and 7nm products over the last few years, allowing chip foundries TSMC and Samsung to arm fabless chipmakers like AMD and Nvidia with next-generation processes sooner.

Among his remarks to investors Thursday night, Gelsinger, who is ending a nearly nine-year tenure as VMware’s CEO to return to Intel, vowed that he will lead the chipmaker to not only close the gap with TSMC and Samsung; he will push Intel to become the leader in chip manufacturing once again.

That, combined with investments in other aspects of chip development, including packaging technologies, will allow the company to deliver the “best products for our customers in every category that we participate in,” according to Gelsinger.

What follows are eight bold statements Gelsinger, a 30-year Intel veteran, made in his first public remarks as Intel’s incoming CEO.

‘Intel Has Shaped My Entire Career’

In the opening of Intel’s earnings call Thursday, Gelsinger delivered prepared statements highlighting his enthusiasm for becoming the company’s CEO, particularly because of his past history at the company.

Gelsinger was just 18 years old when he joined Intel in 1979. He spent the next 30 years at Intel in various executive roles, including senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Enterprise Group, and was named the company’s first chief technology officer in 2000.

During his three decades at Intel, he drove the creation of technologies, including USB and Wi-Fi. Through his leadership, he also led Intel to become the dominant supplier of the microprocessor as he played a significant role as the architect of the original 80486 processor.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be coming home to my dream job as Intel CEO,” he said. “I was only 18 when I first joined Intel, and I’m proud to say I spent the following 30 years learning from such industry giants as [Intel founders Andy] Grove, [Gordon] Moore and [Bob] Noyce.”

“My experience at Intel has shaped my entire career, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to now lead this great company,” he added. “I have tremendous regard for Intel’s rich history of innovation and the world-changing technologies invented here that now power the world’s digital foundation. I can’t wait to help lead this great technology innovator during a critical time of change and disruption.”

Intel Will Provide The ‘Best’ Products ‘In Every Category’

While Gelsinger said Intel is delaying its decision on outsourcing more chip production to after he becomes CEO, he vowed that the chipmaker will continue to manufacture a majority of its products and embrace the company’s traditional role as an integrated device manufacturer.

Gelsinger said Intel’s manufacturing resources, combined with its other capabilities, make the semiconductor company wholly unique in the industry.

“Intel is the only semiconductor company in the world that has the depth of intelligent silicon, platform vision, design and manufacturing capabilities and scale that our customers need to fuel their next-generation innovations,” he said. “There is enormous opportunity ahead for Intel, but to be able to seize these opportunities, we have to deliver the best products that stay ahead of our customers‘ needs.

And while the company plans to potentially outsource more of its chip production in the future, Gelsinger promised that Intel will deliver game-changing, industry-leading products.

“We’re committed to the [integrated device manufacturer] model. We’re committed to leadership products, but also innovation that fundamentally has us leading the industry in a consistent basis,” he said. “And sometimes that may happen outside of the company, sometimes it will be inside of the company, but we’re committed to leading innovation and delivering the best products for our customers in every category that we participate in.”

Intel Will Return To Become ‘Unquestioned Leader In Process Technology’

With Gelsinger declaring that Intel will continue to manufacture most of its products, he said he intends to return the chipmaker to its position as the “unquestioned leader in process technology.”

During the earnings call, Bob Swan, Intel’s outgoing CEO, said the company has resolved its manufacturing issues for upcoming 7nm products while also streamlining the process.

But it’s not just manufacturing process where Intel will continue to make investments. The company will also continue to expand its efforts in chip packaging as well as software to deliver the industry’s best products, according to Gelsinger.

“As we broaden the use of our technologies, across packaging, software, internal and external, we‘re confident that we can deliver a leadership product family in the marketplace across all of our major product categories,” he said. “I was also very pleased to see some of the long-term innovations coming out of [Intel’s Technology Development team] as we work to close any gaps with external foundries as well as leap ahead. And clearly, we’re not interested in just closing gaps. We’re interested in resuming that position of the unquestioned leader in process technology, and that’s our commitment.”

Gelsinger said his plan to continue embracing Intel’s integrated device manufacturer model, or IDM, will also ensure the chipmaker can meet the supply needs of its customers.

“Also with the IDM model, we believe we have the right combination of being able to deliver supply to meet our customers’ requirements by leveraging internal and external capabilities, which our competition doesn’t have,” he said. “And between all of these capabilities, we believe we’re striking the right balance of internal and external to deliver an unquestioned leadership product in the marketplace that meets our customer’s requirements for the long term.”

Intel ‘Is A National Asset’

With Intel being the only remaining U.S. semiconductor company that manufactures its own products, Gelsinger said he knows how strategically important that is to the United States for multiple reasons.

Intel “is a national asset,” he said. “This company needs to be healthy for the technology industry for technology in America. To me, it‘s an opportunity to help and to unquestionably put Intel and the United States in that technology leadership position, so I’m excited by that opportunity to do that.”

On the earnings call, Bob Swan, Intel’s outgoing CEO, said there’s a growing need for the U.S. to secure its own manufacturing and supply chain, given ongoing political tensions between the country and China, and that means a big opportunity for Intel.

“We talked about addressing a growing need in an East versus West world where there are dual supply chains and increased anxiety about having all your technology dependencies more in in the East,” he said. “So for us, what that meant was engaging both with the U.S. government and with commercial players who were increasingly anxious about their exposures.”

Swan said Intel has been in talks with the U.S. government and commercial organizations to potentially provide foundry services that would address concerns about supply chain and technological sovereignty in the face of increasing trade volatility in the East.

Intel and the Semiconductor Industry Association have been working to influence some of the incentives the U.S. government could provide chipmaker for such a venture, Swan added.

“We told the U..S government that we would be in a position to, for the good of the industry frankly, for the good of the country, for the good of Intel, we would leverage our competencies, our capabilities to provide foundry services,” he said.

Swan has previously urged President Joe Biden to invest in the country’s semiconductor manufacturing capabilities to ensure that American companies can remain competitive.

Intel Can Bounce Back From Hard Times And Become Stronger

Gelsinger said Intel can recover from its current struggles and become stronger than ever before because he saw it happen during his previous tenure at the company.

“Intel has gone through cycles before,” he said. “We’ve had periods where we were ahead and periods where we were behind. Others, personally I was very involved in, periods where we were very diminished in the marketplace and late to the multi-core [CPU].”

“And in that period of time, in 2005 through 2009, we turned around the company and unquestionably established the leadership position after a period where many were questioning the ability of the company to be successful yet again,” he added. “Great companies are able to come back from periods of difficulty and challenge and then come back stronger, better and more capable than ever. And that I believe is the opportunity at Intel, and I’m confident that this company has its best days in front of us, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to be part of that.”

‘Key Leaders’ Are Coming Back To Intel

Many in the industry have celebrated Gelsinger’s return to Intel given that he worked there for the first 30 years of his career and given his deep technical expertise.

One retired Intel engineer, Glenn Hinton, recently announced he was rejoining the company to work on a “high-performance CPU project” and that Gelsinger coming back sealed the deal for him.

Gelsinger said there are more Intel veterans like Hinton who will soon follow.

“You’ll be seeing we’re making adjustments in the leadership of our product development teams as well, where talent is going to come into the company,” he said. “They’re excited about the roadmap we’re on. You might have seen we just announced a new fellow coming back, one of my absolute favorites when I was here, Glenn Hinton coming back to the company, and you’ll be seeing other announcements of key leaders coming back in.”

Gelsinger also acknowledged the hard work that has been done by Intel’s recently reorganized manufacturing, technology and design teams, which includes Ann Kelleher, who was appointed head of Intel’s Technology Development group last summer.

“I think the team has been doing a great job getting us to this point,” he said. “I expect with the leadership, the roadmap and a few more weeks of analysis, we’ll be making very solid decisions that allow us to put the company on a path that is merited to the great foundation that Intel has had in the past.”

The 5G Opportunity For Intel Is ‘Absolutely Enormous’

As CEO of VMware, Gelsinger said he has been driving the virtualization giant’s 5G strategy, which included working closely with Intel.

From that work, Gelsinger said he knows the 5G network infrastructure market is a major opportunity for the chipmaker and its heterogenous compute strategy.

“The opportunity of 5G as it becomes a horizontal versus a vertically controlled industry is absolutely enormous, but it’s even more important than that because 5G is going to represent a platform that is redefining edge computing,” he said. “It will open up smart cities and smart factories. It will displace Wi-Fi. This is a powerful technology and will also be deployed in private 5G environments as well.”

Gelsinger also predicted that 5G will be transformational for the future of distributed computing.

“Not only is Intel establishing a beachhead in a very important market that was never a major source of revenue in the past, but it is redefining all aspects of distributed computing in the future,” he said. “So this leadership position that is established today is one that we’ll be harvesting for the next decade.”

“And 5G isn’t just faster LTE. It is a new network with increased security, bandwidth, better-than-wired capabilities and truly will open up markets as we’ve never seen before,” Gelsinger added.

Intel Will Have ‘Grovian, Maniac Execution’

When he becomes CEO in mid-February, Gelsinger said three of his main focus areas will be delivering great products, execution and innovation.

But, he added, company culture will be just as important.

“I was trained at the feet of Grove,” Gelsinger said, “and we will have the Grovian, maniac execution, transparent data-driven culture and rebuild that as part of this company.”

In all, the incoming CEO seemed to characterize his return to the company as a higher calling.

“As we look across these areas, I’m convinced the best days for this company are in front of us,” Gelsinger said. “And this is a priority for Intel, a priority for the technology industry and our nation. And it is a sovereign duty, responsibility and opportunity for me to be taking on that role.”