Intel executive Aicha Evans, who’s in charge of its modem business, is leaving the company less than a year into her tenure, says Bloomberg. Before joining the chip giant, Evans spent 10 years in engineering management positions at Rockwell Semiconductors, Conexant and Skyworks Solutions.
Is all going well with Intel’s mobile division?
Intel is the largest chip maker due to its hold on the personal computer and server markets. On the other hand, it has spent more than a decade and billions of dollars to get into phones, but so far, the results have been less than expected.
According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, the chip maker achieved a 1% share of the apps processor market last year despite subsidizing the mobile business to the tune of $4 billion a year. It is largely believed that Intel’s last attempt in mobile will be to try to succeed with a modem. Evans represented Intel at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February in Barcelona, underlining plans to make the company’s technology central to upcoming 5G (fifth generation), phone networks and devices.
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Intel is said to have assigned around 1,000 engineers to work on a modem for the iPhone, and it is widely believed that success in this would keep the company in the mobile game a while longer. Also there are reports that the chip maker has won a mobile design deal with Apple, but the premature departure of Evans suggests otherwise.
Not good for Intel’s diversity efforts
Last year after the departure of its previous mobile leaders, Hermann Eul and Mike Bell, Evans was promoted to head of the division and to Intel’s management committee. She is one of the most senior black female executives in the chip industry where minorities and women are minorities.
Along with a setback to Intel’s mobile efforts, this new departure will also dent the diversity efforts of CEO Brian Krzanich, who has worked hard to recruit more women and other under-represented segments of the population. Only 3.5% of Intel’s employees were African American or black, while only 24% were female, according to its recent diversity report.
Intel is said to have paid $25 million to get Venkata “Murthy” Renduchintala, a Qualcomm exec, on board last November. So there are chances that Evans’ exit could be the result of the usual ego-clash among top executives.