- When Intel announced the resignation of its CEO Brian Krzanich on Thursday the whole world was surprised.
- This was true even for someone who had been on the board for 29 years and left only a month ago.
Harvard Professor David Yoffie had been an Intel board member for 29 years until he stepped down in May. And he was as shocked as the rest of the business world when Intel announced on Thursday, just one month later, that CEO Brian Krzanich was resigning effectively immediately.
Krzanich left Intel after the board discovered he had a relationship with an Intel employee, violating the company’s rules about managers “fraternizing” with their employees, Intel said. Intel described the relationship as something that happened the past.
Yoffee was on the board until about a month ago and told Business Insider that all of this “was a total surprise to me. Whatever caused this to occur had to have occurred in the last month,” he said. “Whatever has happened from the middle of May until today, I know the same information as you. I read it in the newspaper this morning.”
While there’s plenty of speculation we can do over Krzanich’s departure and if there were deeper issues at hand, like the company’s ongoing struggles to deliver its next generation super fast super tiny 10mm chip, Yoffie’s statement does indicate that the decision by the board was sudden.
Intel also implied in their announcement that Krzanich’s resignation was not due to poor performance. They said the company is about to announce a killer quarter, expecting to beat on both revenue and profit, and is on track to have a record year, even without the promised new chip that Intel can’t seem to get out the door.And the stock is up 53% this year, all things that usually add up to job security for a CEO.
It is also curious that Intel spelled out the reason for the CEO’s sudden departure like it did. Often a board will want to avoid scandal or controversy. It will use terms like “resigning for personal reasons” and leave it at that. Or it can arrange any number of more graceful exits.
Whatever happened in the board room over the past month, Intel’s board deserves kudos for a strong statement. After the #metoo campaign, their message is clear: Intel is willing to act when it comes to inappropriate relationships and behaviour at the workplace, no matter who is involved.
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