Intel has just published a news release on its website stating that Jim Keller has resigned from the company, effective immediately, due to personal reasons.

Jim Keller was hired by Intel two years ago to the role as Senior Vice President of Intel’s Silicon Engineering Group, after a string of successes at Tesla, AMD, Apple, AMD (again), and PA Semiconductor. As far as we understand, Jim’s goal inside Intel was to streamline a lot of the product development process on the silicon side, as well as providing strategic platforms though which future products can be developed and optimized to market. We also believe that Jim Keller has had a hand in looking at Intel’s manufacturing processes, as well as a number of future products.

Intel’s press release today states that Jim Keller is leaving the position on June 11th due to personal reasons. However, he will remain with the company as a consultant for six months in order to assist with the transition.

As a result of Jim’s departure, Intel has realigned some of its working groups internally with a series of promotions.

  1. Sundari Mitra, the former CEO and founder of Net Speed, will lead a newly created IP Engineering Group.
  2. Gloria Leong will head the Xeon Performance Group
  3. Gene Scuteri will head the Xeon and Networking Engineering Group
  4. Uri Frank and Boyd Phelps will lead the Client Engineering Group
  5. Daaman Hejmadi will lead the Design Enablement Group
  6. Navid Shahriari will continue to lead the Manufacturing and Product Engineering Group

Jim Keller’s history in the industry has been well documented – his work has had a significant effect in a number of areas that have propelled the industry forward. This includes work on Apple’s A4 and A5 processors, AMD’s K8 and Zen high-level designs, as well as Tesla’s custom silicon for self driving, which Tesla’s own competitors have said put the company up to seven years ahead.

With our interview with Jim Keller, several weeks after taking the job at Intel, we learned that Keller went in to the company with a spanner. Keller has repeatedly said that he’s a fixer, more than a visionary, and Intel would allow him to effect change at a larger scale than he had ever done previously.

From our interview:

JK: I like the whole pipeline, like, I've been talking to people about how do our bring up labs and power performance characterization work, such as how does our SoC and integration and verification work? I like examining the whole stack. We're doing an evaluation on how long it takes to get a new design into emulation, what the quality metrics are, so yeah I'm all over the place.

We just had an AI summit where all the leaders for AI were there, we have quite a few projects going on there, I mean Intel's a major player in AI already, like virtually every software stack runs on Xeon and we have quite a few projects going on. There's the advanced development stuff, there's nuts and bolts execution, there's process and methodology bring up. Yeah I have a fairly broad experience in the computer business. I'm a ‘no stone unturned’ technical kind of person – when we were in Haifa and I was bugging an engineer about the cleanliness of the fixture where the surface mount packages plug into the test boards.

Jim’s history has shown that he likes to spend a few years at a company and move on to different sorts of challenges. His two year stint at Intel has been one of his shortest tenures, and even recently Fortune published a deep expose on Jim, stating that ‘Intel is betting its chips on microprocessor mastermind Jim Keller’. So the fact that he is leaving relatively early based on his previous roles is somewhat different.

Intel’s press release on the matter suggests that this has been known about for enough time to rearrange some of the working groups around to cover Jim’s role. Jim will be serving at Intel for at least another six months it seems, in the role of a consultant, so it might be that long before he lands another spot in the industry.

It should be noted that Jim Keller is still listed to give one of the keynote addresses at this year’s Hot Chips conference on behalf on Intel. We will update this story if that changes.

This news item was updated on 17th June with information regarding the new rearrangement. Points 2 and 4 were added, while (the new) 5 was adjusted.

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  • AndrewJacksonZA - Friday, June 12, 2020 - link

    Don't you mean that every year is THE year of Linux on the desktop? ;-)
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, June 12, 2020 - link

    "THE year of Linux "

    it's been that way for years. it's just that you carry your desktop in your pocket.
  • shabby - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    Rip intel, bankruptcy coming soon 😂
  • Deicidium369 - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    You spelled AMD wrong
  • pepoluan - Friday, June 12, 2020 - link

    Rip intel, AMD coming soon 😂

    There, FTFY
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    On the contrary, I am happy if it means Keller is free of the nonsense and numbskullery he probably had to deal with there on a daily basis. They probably couldn’t handle his free-thinking, maverick style and it was probably for the best of everyone that he parted ways: for him to breath creatively again and for Intel to continue waning. By the looks of Lakefield which I think he had some hand in with its evolutionary package, it just does not have the evolutionary performance it was hyped up to have. Remember that Lakefield is using Sunny Cove which has an 18% IPC improvement over Skylake so Lakefield’s 3 GHz boost is only roughly equivalent to 3.54 GHz on Skylake. So when Intel compared Lakefield to the Core i7-8100Y which has a 4.2 GHz boost clock, they must be speaking of sustained loads in thermally or energy throttled situations and not actual boost performance. This potentially makes it significantly slower than the Core i7-8100Y it was compared to unless its Sunny Cove is heavily modified and suddenly gained more IPC than advertised, which I highly doubt. Keller likes his name associated with success so good for him for walking and leaving this dinosaur corporation to fall into obscurity from their idiotic internal operations.
  • brantron - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    Lakefield does not have hyperthreading or AVX, so that 18% IPC is not apples to apples.

    In the specific case of Lakefield vs. the 8100Y, it's still 4 Tremont cores vs. 2 Skylake cores, though, so YMMV.
  • Hifihedgehog - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    Intel purported a “12% SINGLE threaded” performance uplift for Lakefield over the Core i78500Y. But it does not compute since that 8500Y has a 4.2 GHz boost clock. I really think that number is for a very specific, thermally and energy constrained scenario. Honestly, the more I look at Lakefield, the more I see “over-engineering” and “falling short“ in the design goals.
  • Deicidium369 - Thursday, June 11, 2020 - link

    You mean the CPU for the Samsung Note type device? it's not for main line laptops... that's Tiger Lake - the one smoking the AMD 4800
  • Hifihedgehog - Friday, June 12, 2020 - link

    Haha. No.

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