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Intel CEO Sees Turnaround Effort as Five-Year Job

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Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in July pledged to return the company to the top of its engineering game.

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intel/Reuters

Intel Corp.


INTC 0.22%

Chief Executive

Pat Gelsinger

says his plan to turn around the U.S. semiconductor company is a multiyear assignment.

Mr. Gelsinger, who took over at Intel in February to try to fix operations after several years of missteps, has embarked on an effort to restore the company’s engineering prowess and build up a contract chip-making operation.

“It’s a five-year assignment to get all of that well and healthy again,” he said Thursday at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Washington. “Will it be done in four, maybe less than that? No way. Could it be six, seven, eight years I’m CEO? Maybe if we’re having fun and healthy and good.”

Intel last year ceded its position as America’s biggest chip company by market value to

Nvidia Corp.


NVDA -0.96%

Shares in many chip companies have risen strongly amid a time of unprecedented demand for processors. Intel’s shares have hardly budged. The PHLX Semiconductor Index is up more than 40% this year. Intel shares are up less than 2%. Shares in the company were down around 2% in Thursday trading.

This week, Intel announced a plan to publicly list shares in its Mobileye self-driving-car unit in the U.S. next year. The move, earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal, could value Mobileye at north of $50 billion. Intel plans to retain a majority stake in the business. Mr. Gelsinger said this week that listing the unit would raise its profile, helping it win more business, and strengthen Intel’s ambition to try to secure a greater share of the growing auto-tech sector.

A global chip shortage is affecting how quickly we can drive a car off the lot or buy a new laptop. WSJ visits a fabrication plant in Singapore to see the complex process of chip making and how one manufacturer is trying to overcome the shortage. Photo: Edwin Cheng for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Gelsinger, in July, pledged to return Intel to the top of its engineering game, committing to produce the world’s best chips within four years. To get there, he laid out a plan for Intel to introduce at least a new central processing unit—the brains of the modern computer—every year between 2021 and 2025. Each is expected to be based on transistor technology more advanced than the last.

Mr. Gelsinger also has embarked on a costly effort to become a chip maker for others. He has pledged more than $100 billion in chip-plant investments in the U.S. and abroad over the coming years and said he is drawing up further spending commitments.

Intel shares slumped in October after the company’s most recent earnings when it detailed investment plans and said its margins would be lower in the next few years.

“If you want to measure me on a quarterly basis, I fail,” Mr. Gelsinger said at the event in Washington. “If you want to measure me on a two-, three-, four-year basis of turning around an industry and an iconic company, that’s what I want to be measured against.”

Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at [email protected]

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Appeared in the December 10, 2021, print edition as ‘Intel CEO Says Turnaround Is Multiyear Effort.’

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