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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  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, July 11, 2021 - link

    I am not seeing a point in your post.

    This is the Israel facility, correct? Is it supposed to be surprising to have staff from Israel there?
  • dsplover - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    I could care less about hypotheticals or activist investors, beliefs, etc. Strike back so consumers get the benefits from more competition.

    I was hoping for an i7 with extreme cache, and an on die GPU. Tiger Lake desktop actually.
    I kept waiting to upgrade my 1U’s but AMD 5700G’s appear to have beaten Intel even on that processor level.

    Bright side, competition brought me the perfect CPU for my needs.

    Can’t wait to see Intel strike back in 2025.
  • mode_13h - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    Yeah, it's too bad they didn't bring Tiger Lake H to the desktop. The closest thing to it is their NUC Extreme.
  • JKflipflop98 - Saturday, July 10, 2021 - link

    The honest answer is "diversity". Forced, quantified, sticking people in silos by the color of their skin "diversity" is what happened.

    Which is a shame because Intel from the start has been welcoming to anyone. Intel has never cared if you're man, woman, black, white, Andromedian, whatever. If you got the chops to get the work done, then you're in.

    Now it's all about pushing URM's (under represented minorities) into the company as fast as possible to claim the company is "woke" and "diverse". But no one actually stopped to ask these diverse new hires if they understand how a computer works - which most of them don't. So now the fab facilities are just chock full of people that don't have a clue about any sort of advanced technology, and are just there to draw a paycheck.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, July 10, 2021 - link

    Thanks for your perspective. Just so we're clear, I'm curious to know roughly what proportion of Intel's failings you consider caused by that, and roughly when did you notice these changes?
  • mode_13h - Saturday, July 10, 2021 - link

    And not to directly address the diversity thing, but I think I should probably mention I've been hired into roles for which I was under-qualified. That's not the end of the world. As long as the employee has the potential to do the job and half-decent coaching, they can grow into it.

    The key thing is probably for them to see the path from where they are to where they're expected to be. I'd say don't sell anyone short, before they've had opportunities and support to step up prove they're willing and able to do the work. While not everyone is going to make it, once some do, it will hopefully inspire their peers by showing both what's possible and what it takes.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, July 10, 2021 - link

    So, as a manger, my first request would be for HR to do the best job it can of recruiting the highest caliber candidates in whatever category they're prioritizing. Then, if they're pushing candidates who need additional training and support, they really need to make those resources available.

    If diversity is a top-level business priority, then the organization needs to recognize the costs and provide the appropriate backing. And once money enters the conversation, it has a way of making people serious.

    Again, sidestepping the debate over diversity itself, there are surely better and worse ways to do it. As with nearly all things in business and life.
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, July 11, 2021 - link

    Here's a thought (it'll never come true). What if there were a way to abstract/obfuscate a person's colour during the hiring process? Then it would be based purely on merit.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, July 11, 2021 - link

    This is why liberal arts is essential. When someone is required to take a course in social psychology one learns that hiring decisions are dominated by psychological deficiencies in interviewers — not objective prospective employee quality.

    A memorable bit of research showed, for instance, that simply putting a briefcase down by a wall prior to shaking hands is enough to be disqualified by the vaunted expert HR staffer. Why? Because unconscious emotional responses (first impressions based mainly on superficialities in the first 30 seconds) dominate interviewers. Those kinds of biases make it very difficult for some minorities to get a fair shake. Simply turning up looking or moving the ‘wrong’ way is enough.

    Liberal arts undergrad programs clue people in to the fact that the world isn’t as ‘common sense’ as their loud mouths would have it. That is, if they’re intelligent enough to grasp that.
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, July 11, 2021 - link

    Hollywood actors are forced to take voice lessons to learn how to sound artificially heterosexual.

    Hollywood is stereotyped as being socially progressive but it is typically quite conservative, to the point of abusing its workers and the public with such narrowmindedness. In its earliest history that wasn’t as true but religious lobbyists quickly transformed the industry.

    If ‘San Francisco values’ means stuffing your true voice into a shoe box in order to have a job that is telling in terms of what minorities typically face.

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