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Why Key Intel Chip Design Exec's Departure Is Positive For AMD, Nvidia

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Why Key Intel Chip Design Exec's Departure Is Positive For AMD, Nvidia

Chipmakers are running a close race as they strive to capitalize on the tech opportunity created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Against this backdrop, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) announced a key executive departure, and the development is seen as a positive for rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) and NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA).

What Happened: Intel announced Thursday that Jim Keller, who served as senior vice president in the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group and general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group resigned effective June 11, citing personal reasons.

The chip designer had previously worked with AMD, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), according to his bio on Intel's website.

At Tesla, which Keller left for Intel, he was vice president of Autopilot Hardware Engineering.

Why It Matters: Keller's departure is a big deal, and apparently whatever he was enacting at Intel was not working — or the old Intel guard did not want to enact it, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Hans Mosesmann said in a note.

Intel's engineering corporate culture is allergic to outsiders, especially ex-AMDers, the analyst said. 

"So, the net of this situation for us is that Intel's processor and process node roadmaps are going to be more in flux or broken than even we had expected."

Mosesmann sees Keller's departure as directly beneficial not only to AMD and Nvidia but also to data center plays Broadcom Inc (NASDAQ: AVGO), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: MRVL) and Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX).

What's Next: Intel said Keller will stay on as a consultant for six months to assist with the transition. The company also announced executive appointments at the TSCG, naming Sundari Mitra to lead a newly created IP Engineering Group.

Gene Scuteri is to head the Xeon and Networking Engineering Group, while Daaman Hejmadi is to return to lead the Client Engineering Group focused on system-on-chip execution.

At last check, Intel shares were slipping 1.04% to $59.08.

Related Links:

AMD Analysts Eye Valuation, PC Risks, Intel Competition After Q1 Report

Linux Founder Switches Allegiance To AMD After 15 Years As Intel Customer

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