Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Andy Bryant Will Be Intel’s Next Chairman

Chip giant Intel just announced that it has named Andy Bryant, its longtime CFO and currently its chief administrative officer, to its board of directors as vice-chairman. The move effectively sets the process in motion to make him Intel’s new chairman beginning next May, when he will succeed Intel’s current chairman, Jane Shaw.

Bryant is one of the chip industry’s lions. His frank and informative explanations at Intel analyst and shareholder meetings during his 13-year stint as CFO were always interesting and always detailed in a way that couldn’t help but make you appreciate the complicated process of making chips. Semiconductor manufacturing is not only one of the most complex processes that humankind has ever engineered, it’s also a highly intricate accounting problem because the factories and equipment are so expensive.

When it came time for Intel and its rival Advanced Micro Devices to settle a long-running and contentious private antitrust lawsuit that AMD had brought in 2005, one of Intel’s master strokes was to bring Andy Bryant in on the negotiations.

As I reported for BusinessWeek in 2009, at a crucial moment when Intel’s lawyer, Bruce Sewell, had left unexpectedly for a job at Apple, Bryant’s presence at the negotiating table helped keep the talks on track. And when Intel and AMD couldn’t agree on the value of a patent portfolio that was a key element in the dispute, it was Bryant who convinced both sides to take the issue to a mediator, who, oddly enough, was located in Maui.

Bryant’s elevation to the board follows what Intel is describing as a “long corporate practice of senior officer and board succession planning.” Bryant knows Intel probably better than anyone else, probably better in many ways than CEO Paul Otellini. “I am excited about this new position for Andy and look forward to continuing to work closely with him as he assumes his new responsibilities” said Otellini.

When he becomes chairman in May, Bryant will step down from his CAO position. Bryant also sits on the board of McKesson, a health care distributor, and he is a director of Columbia Sportswear Company and Kryptiq, Inc.

Bryant first joined Intel in 1981 as controller for its Commercial Memory Systems Operation, back near the end of the days when the company made its crucial decision to get out of the memory business. (It had been a big player in memory until Japanese chipmakers turned memory into what would eventually be considered a commodity business.) In 1983, Bryant became Systems Group Controller, and in 1987 he was promoted to director of Finance for the corporation. In 1990, he was was appointed vice president and director of Finance of the Intel Products Group. He assumed the CFO title in 1994, and added Senior Vice President in 1999.

I found a Reuters video of Bryant speaking about Intel’s outlook from late 2009 and embedded it below.

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