Intel replaces outgoing PC unit chief, hires new CFO

Intel said Gregory Bryant is stepping down as head of its crown jewel customer computing unit.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said Bryant would leave at the end of the month after 30 years at Intel. He was one of Intel’s most prominent executives, running the company responsible for its central processing chips in PCs and accounting for about half of the company’s sales. He showcased Intel’s products at the Consumer Electronics Show this month. He’s leaving for a new opportunity, Intel said.

Intel is promoting the inside to replace Bryant, known within the company as “GB”. He will be replaced by Michelle Johnston Holthaus, executive vice president of sales, marketing and communications at Intel. In his new position, Holthaus will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the PC unit, including strategy and product development. The company she is taking over had sales of more than $40 billion in 2020.

The semiconductor giant also said it poached Micron Technology’s David Zinsner to be its new chief financial officer, a top recruit as it invests aggressively in its factories to turn around its fortunes.

The personnel changes come about a year after Intel announced that Pat Gelsinger would take over as chief executive after a prolonged delay in its chip development put the company on its heels. The new CEO is trying to reinvigorate Intel, including a plan called “IDM 2.0” to spend billions of dollars building its chip factories and a vow to win back its crown in making the world’s most advanced chips from TSMC.

As the CEO revamps Intel’s chip design and manufacturing operations, he’s also shaking up his executive ranks. Intel last year hired Greg Lavender as chief technology officer (CTO) to fill the seat left by Michael Mayberry, who retired in late 2020. Navin Shenoy, senior vice president of its data center business data, left last year. He also decided to put his mark on the semiconductor company with a major reorganization.

Johnston Holthaus will assume his new role within the customer computing unit in the coming months, Intel said.

Johnston Holthaus spent 25 years at Intel and, before leading the company’s sales, marketing and communications operations, she managed global sales for the PC business. Its top priority will likely be to lead Intel’s counterattack against AMD, Apple, Qualcomm and others who challenge its PC dominance.

Intel’s delays in designing more advanced chips opened the door for AMD to siphon off PC market share with competitive offerings and encouraged Apple to roll out its breakthrough M1 processor for the Mac.

Intel has aggressively marketed the performance of its next generation of PC processors, which combine high-performance, power-efficient cores in a way that resembles the design of Apple’s M-series chips.

Zinsner, Micron’s chief financial officer, will join Intel later this month. He had worked at the memory chip giant since February 2018. He was previously senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Analog Devices.

Zinsner will have enormous responsibilities in his new role. He will have to oversee Intel’s more than $20 billion investment in its US factories and tens of billions of dollars of additional planned spending in Europe and other regions. Intel said this is an investment phase as it aims to rebuild its manufacturing prowess and regain its status as a leader in computer chips. Intel has warned that its stimulus plans will weigh on profits for years.

Last year, Intel said chief financial officer George Davis planned to leave in May. He will remain with the company until then to help with the transition. Micron said Monday he had launched a search for his next chief financial officer.

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