News on the wire today is that Intel has rehired 28-year veteran Shlomit Weiss into the position of Senior VP and Co-General Manager of Intel’s Design Engineering Group (DEG), a position recently vacated by Uri Frank who left to head up Google’s SoC development. As reported in Tom’s Hardware and confirmed in her own LinkedIn announcement, Weiss will be working at Intel’s Israel design center alongside Sunil Shenoy and is ‘committed to ensuring that the company continues to lead in developing chips’. Weiss is the latest in an ever-growing list of ‘re-hiring’ Intel veterans, which leads to the problem that at some point Intel will run out of ex-employees to rehire and instead nurture internal talent for those roles.

In her first 28-year stint at Intel, Weiss is reported to have lead the team that developed both Intel Sandy Bridge and Intel Skylake, arguably two of the company’s most important processor families over the last decade: Sandy Bridge reaffirmed Intel’s lead in the market with a new base microarchitecture and continues in its 6+th generation in Comet Lake today, while Skylake has been Intel’s most profitable microarchitecture ever. Weiss also received Intel’s Achievement Award, the company’s highest offer, but is not listed as an Intel Fellow, while CRN reports that Weiss also founded the Intel Israel Women Forum in 2014. Weiss left Intel in September 2017 to join Mellanox/NVIDIA, where she held the role of Senior VP Silicon Engineering and ran the company’s networking chip design group.

In her new role at Intel, Tom’s is reporting that Weiss will lead all of Intel’s consumer chip development and design, while the other Co-GM of Intel DEG Sunil Shenoy will lead the data center design initiatives.

If you’ve been following the news of Intel’s personnel of late, you might start to learn a pattern:

  • Dec 20: Intel hires Masooma Bhaiwala (16-year AMD veteran)
  • Jan 21: Intel rehires Glenn Hinton (35-year Intel veteran, Senior Fellow)
  • Jan 27: Intel rehires Sunil Shenoy (33-year Intel veteran)
  • Jan 27: Intel hires Guido Appenzeller (various)
  • Feb 15: Intel rehires Pat Gelsinger (30-year Intel veteran)
  • Mar 17: Intel rehires Sanjay Natarajan (22-year veteran)
  • May 28: Intel hires Ali Ibrahim (13-year AMD veteran, Senior Fellow)
  • June 7: Intel hires Hong Hao (13-year Samsung veteran)
  • June 8: Intel rehires Stuart Pann (33-year Intel veteran)
  • June 8: Intel rehires Bob Brennan (22-year Intel veteran)
  • June 8: Intel hires Nick McKeown (27-year Stanford professor)
  • June 8: Intel hires Greg Lavender (35-year Sun/Citi/VMWare)
  • July 6: Intel rehires Shlomit Weiss (28-year Intel veteran)

Of these named hires (plenty of other people hired below the role of VP), seven are listed as ex-Intel employees being rehired into the company, mostly into engineering-focused positions. These ex-Intel engineers have a long line of accolades at the company, having worked on and built the fundamental technologies that power Intel today. The exact reasons why they left Intel in the first place are varied, with some peers are keen to cite brain drain during CEO Brian Krzanich’s tenure, however it would appear that the promise of working on fundamental next-generation hardware, along with popular CEO Pat Gelsinger, is enough of an allure to get them to return.

It should be noted however that number of engineers that Intel could rehire is limited – going after key personnel critical to Intel’s growth in the last few decades, despite their lists of successful products and accolades, can’t be the be-all and end-all of Intel’s next decade of growth. If we’re strictly adhering to typical retirement ages as well, a number of them will soon be at that level within the next ten years. Intel can’t keep rehiring veteran talent into key positions to get to the next phase in its product evolution – at some level it has to reignite the initial passion from within.

Intel’s key personnel are often home-grown, or what we call ‘lifers’, who spend 20+ years of the company typically straight out of university or college – every rehire on this list fits into this image, especially CEO Pat Gelsinger, and a number of contacts I have within the company are identical. However if Intel is having to rehire those who enabled former glory for the company, one has to wonder exactly what is going on such that talent already within the company isn’t stepping up. At some point these veterans will retire, and Intel will be at a crossroads. In a recent interview with former Intel SVP Jim Keller, he stated that (paraphrased) ‘building a chip design team at a company depends on volume – you hire in if you don’t have the right people, but if you have a team of 1000, then there are people there and it’s a case of finding the right ones’. In a company of 110000 employees, it seems odd that Intel feels it has to rehire to fill those key roles. Some might question if those rehires would have left in the first place if Intel’s brain drain had never occurred, but it poses an interesting question nonetheless.

Source: Tom’s Hardware, CRN
Image: LinkedIn

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  • ballsystemlord - Thursday, July 8, 2021 - link

    It's not really my problem either because, at least in the US, when you talk about "veterans" you always mean military veterans. "Do you have a veterans discount?" I was asked by a checkout clerk, on the same day I posted that comment. Obviously, they didn't mean Intel veteran. Or you have the gov body, the DVA (Department of Veteran Affairs -- for the military, not Intel).
    Maybe you'd classify it as a societal problem in the US?
  • FullmetalTitan - Thursday, July 8, 2021 - link

    -Maybe you'd classify it as a societal problem in the US?
    Nailed it
  • mode_13h - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    I'm in the US and I had no misinterpretation of that title. I get your point, but the title is reasonable.
  • WaltC - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    Just more indications that the top/mid Intel management really doesn't know what to do in a competitive market. I knew the company management had degraded over the past decade--just didn't know by how much. Turning to retirees who were fortunate to work in Intel's halcyon monopoly days in the hopes of repeating past successes just reinforces the fact that Intel cannot function in an ultra-competitive market. In the past, Intel bought out other companies or literally paid vendors not to sell competitor's products (like Dell, infamously) and stayed ahead that way--but those strategies won't work today, and the company seems to be foundering.
  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    It doesn't matter that they don't know what to do, they still have boatloads of money and smart people, enough to out-compete the other players.

    Even if ARM ends up overpowering and crushing x86, which imo is unlikely, they will keep playing the game, either licensing the ARM architecture and making their own cores, or making RISC-V cores and crushing ARM.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, July 12, 2021 - link

    AMD literally survived by buying other companies in the 90s, and look at them now.

    You seem to forget that in those halcyon days intel was churning out some amazing products and pushed the envelope for performance. Starting with core 2 to skylake intel was at the forefront of high performance computing.
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - link

    > Starting with core 2 to skylake intel was at the forefront of high performance computing.

    You should distinguish what proportion of that performance margin was due to good microarchitecture vs. superior manufacturing tech. Intel had the best manufacturing tech until about 2017, which covered over the small inter-generational IPC gains they've had since Sandybridge.

    When they lost their edge in manufacturing tech, they were no longer safe from anyone who had a competitive microarchitecture.

    It's funny how this article highlights the profitability of Skylake, when most of that is due to the subsequent failures instead of Skylake's strengths. And the article didn't even mention its multitude of security flaws. Probably the most exploit-prone CPU, ever.
  • zodiacfml - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    hard to tell. more likely, these people are familiar/worked with Pat. Intel buying TSMC 3nm supply for mobile/server product easily secures Intel and hurts AMD
  • sseemaku - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    Every body makes CPUs these days, just get arm license and make few changes here and there. Its not that advanced anymore where you need highly talented people. Intel has lost the charm it once had, CPU making doesn't sound that exciting any more. One area Intel screwed up big time is process development. They should hire some good guys there.
  • edzieba - Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - link

    The trend reaches even further back: a bunch of the Larrabee team have been re-hired (e.g. Tom Forsyth back in 2019)

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