Intel Names Bob Swan as CEO

Just published a comment to the EETimes.

A bean counter to lead a technology company? Sorry, but that’s just plain wrong. It’s a cliché (but also true) that the priority of all bean counters is the finance end of the business. Because that’s what they know and that’s their comfort zone. So when the business plan lags (as all eventually do), the MBA’s first tendency is to tweak the financials. This is in contrast with a technologist who tends to have a more systemic view of the business.

It seems obvious, to me anyway, that Intel needs someone who has some true technology creds. (And not another BA or MBA person running the company. Recent examples: Paul Otellini, BA/MBA or Brian M. Krzanich, BA.)

No, Intel needs a Lisa Su with her BSEE, MS, and PhDEE degrees in addition to her leadership experience. Or another Robert Noyce (BS and PhD Physics), Gordon Moore (BS and PhD Chemistry), or Andrew Grove (BSChemE, PhDChemE). All brilliant technologists. All brilliant leaders.

But instead, in 2019 (and way behind in the technology game) Intel settles for Bob Swan, another BA/MBA guy.

I don’t get it. It’s just my opinion – and my personal observation – that the finance guys who rise to senior management roles in engineer/design/build companies are first and foremost political animals; and those who neither understand or care to learn about the technology.

Humorously, the fall back position of every business major leader I have encountered during these past 40 years all coincidentally work out to have exactly the same argument. “I don’t need to be an engineer, I have engineers working for me.”

It’s an answer so patently smug as to completely belie the irony of consummate ignorance.


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