Apple's $24 million chip executive is reportedly on Intel's short list for new CEO, but it's not clear if he'd be willing to make that jump
- It's been six months and Intel still hasn't found a new CEO.
- Intel has reportedly put Apple senior VP of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, on its wish list.
- If Intel could convince Srouji to become its new CEO, it would be a big win for the company.
- But that's a big if.
If there's one sure-fire way for Intel to turn the fiasco of its six-month vacant CEO slot into a big win for the company, it's this: lure Apple senior vice president of hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, into becoming the new CEO.
Axios's Ina Fried reports that Srouji is on Intel's short list for chief executive. This follows Bloomberg reporting Monday that several talked-about candidates are no longer in the running, including former Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha and two former Intel executives, Anand Chandrasekher (who is currently a Qualcomm president) and Renee James. As we previously reported, James is now CEO of her own chip company, Ampere. She worked like mad to get her company off the ground and says she's incredibly happy working for herself at the moment. Bloomberg reported that some of the candidates turned Intel down.
Srouji would be a stroke of genius - and a stroke of luck - for Intel, if they could lure him away from Apple. That's a big if.
He leads Apple's in-house chip development, which has caused Apple to withdraw ever more of its business away from Intel. The latest industry scuttlebutt is that Apple is on track to ditch Intel chips for its Mac PCs by 2020. In all fairness, though, similar rumors have circulated annually for years about Apple ditching Intel completely.
So nabbing Srouji could potentially help Intel shore up its relationship with one of its biggest customers. And even if Apple still left Intel, Srouji may be just the genius Intel needs to help it get through its endless manufacturing issues.
Under former CEO Brian Krzanich, Intel suffered through one missed mass-production deadline after another, having difficulty retooling its production lines to crank out its latest, greatest, smallest chips. Apple, on the other hand, under Srouji seems to crank out its own new homegrown chips for its iPhones like clockwork.
And Srouji also cut his teeth at Intel, working at its Israel facility from 1990 to 2005, Fried points out.
But, if Srouji is Intel's dream hire, he may also be out of Intel's league, even for the CEO job.
Apple recently gave Srouji a big raise to keep him sticking around. Srouji joined Apple in 2008, and when he was promoted to senior vice president of hardware technologies in 2015, Apple gave him $10 million of restricted stock that vested over four years. Right before the four years was up and all $10 million was free to land in his pocket, Apple doubled-up on him. Srouji made $24,162,392 in total compensation in 2017, including new stock packages on a vesting schedule. And he became, for the first time, a named officer at Apple, meaning that he's so important and so highly paid that Apple had to disclose his compensation in SEC filings.
As we previously reported, that handsome pay package made him the second highest-paid executive at the company after retail chief, Angela Ahrendts. She made a tad more at $24,216,072. CEO Tim Cook, in comparison, earned the least of Apple's executive exec team in 2017, at just under $13 million.
So Intel would need to convince Srouji the challenge and prestige of being its next CEO would be worth giving up the challenge and prestige of developing Apple's chips and hardware. And they'd have to pay him handsomely to make the risk worth taking, too.
Krzanich resigned from Intel in June after the company learned that he had an affair with an employee. He is now the CEO of CDK Global, a car dealer software maker in the Chicago area. Intel's acting CEO is CFO Bob Swan, who says he does not want the CEO role permanently.
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