The rise of Bob Swan, who went from leading a notorious dot-com bust to becoming the new CEO of Intel

IntelIntel CEO Bob Swan
  • Intel has a new CEO in the form of Bob Swan, ending a search that started in the wake of former chief exec Brian Krzanich’s departure.
  • Swan had been interim CEO since Krzanich left in June 2018, and Intel’s CFO before that.
  • Before Intel, Swan had a long career in Silicon Valley and beyond: He was the CFO (and briefly CEO) of notorious dot-com flop Webvan, a venture investor, and other things besides.
  • Here’s a look at his career, from a long tenure at GE all the way to the top of Intel.

On Thursday, Intel named Robert “Bob” Swan as its new permanent CEO.

Swan is a familiar face for Intel shareholders and employees: He had been serving as CFO since 2016, and stepped up as interim CEO in June 2018, following the sudden departure of former chief exec Brian Krzanich.

The 58-year old executive has held number executive roles throughout his career, but leading $US215 billion Intel will be Swan’s highest-profile gig yet.

But who exactly is Intel’s new CEO?

Here’s a closer look at Bob Swan’s life and career:

Robert “Bob” Swan is 58. He was born in Syracuse, New York and attended the University of Buffalo, where he received his undergraduate degree in business administration. Swan went on to earn an MBA from Binghamton University.

IntelIntel CFO Bob Swan


Swan began his career at General Electric in 1985, where climbed the ladder and held multiple senior finance roles — including CFO of GE Transportation Systems and VP of finance for GE Medical Systems in Europe. He spent 15 years at GE.

Sources: Bloomberg

In 1999, Swan joined the dot-com grocery delivery company Webvan as VP of finance. Webvan launched with a ton of hype, and raised some $US400 million in venture capital. Webvan raised another $US375 million in an IPO the year of its launch, and hit a market cap of $US7.9 billion on its first day of trading.


Source: NYT, CNN, and Ecommerce Times

However, Webvan’s costs far outpaced its revenue, and it quickly burned through all of its cash. By April 2001, Webvan CEO George Shaheen resigned, and Swan was named the new chief exec.

Source: SF Gate and Ecommerce Times

Four months later, the company filed for bankruptcy and was forced to let go of its remaining 2,000 employees. The company’s assets were sold to Amazon. All told, Webvan was only in operation for three years.

Source: SF Gate and Ecommerce Times

Swan held various executive roles over the next several years, including a stint between 2003 and 2006 as CFO of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), the IT outsourcing firm founded by Ross Perot.

Source: Networkworld and CRN

In February 2006, Swan was named the CFO of eBay. Swan stayed at eBay for nine years, helping oversee the spinoff of PayPal into a separate company. Once the spinoff was complete in 2015, Swan left — but he’s sat on eBay’s board since 2015.


Source: Forbes, CRN, WSJ

After eBay, Swan joined growth-equity firm General Atlantic, where he advised startups on their financial operations. He also helped lead General Atlantic’s $US158 million investment in AppDynamics, which sold to Cisco in 2018 for $US3.7 billion.


Source: General Atlantic and Business Insider

In September 2016, Swan was brought on Intel’s CFO. Swan’s hire came as a surprise, as he lacked prior experience in the chip industry. But perhaps more shocking was the massive $US23 million pay package he was offered, including an $US850,000 base salary and $US5.5 million signing bonus.

IntelBob Swan rings the Nasdaq opening bell to celebrate Intel’s 50th anniversary in 2018.

Source: Business Insider

Swan became interim CEO in June 2018, replacing Brian Krzanich, who resigned following the company’s investigation into his past relationship with an employee. Reportedly, Swan told employees at an all-hands meeting that he didn’t want the job on a permanent basis.

Source: Bloomberg and Business Insider

Nevertheless, on January 31, 2019, Swan was officially named as Intel’s seventh CEO. He will receive an annual base salary of $US1.25 million and a target bonus amount of $US3.4 million per year, though he could stand to make much more in performance awards.

IntelIntel CEO Bob Swan

Source: Business Insider

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