Intel is replacing chief marketing officer Steve Fund, a high-profile executive who held top jobs at Procter & Gamble and Staples before joining Intel four years ago.
Chief executive Brian Krzanich notified employees of the change last week but didn’t specify any reason behind the shakeup in a memo obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive. He wrote that Fund will now handle “special projects for the company,” reporting to general counsel Steve Rodgers. The particular projects Fund will handle, Krzanich said, “will be announced at a later date.”
Intel appointed Michelle Johnston Holthaus, general manager of the company’s sales and marketing organization, to run marketing and communications while Intel seeks a new CMO. Krzanich said Intel plans to move quickly to select Fund’s replacement and will consider candidates inside and outside the company.
The company didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Under Fund, Intel’s marketing shifted from its historical “Intel Inside” tagline to emphasize aerial drone lightshows and sponsorships at the Olympics, Super Bowl and other high-profile sporting events. They sought to use drones and 3D camera systems, neither of which are central to its business, to revitalize its brand and highlight practical applications for technology.
Intel has made a series of executive changes in the last three years, replacing its president, chief financial officer, chief information officer, data center chief and several other top positions. Many of the departures have been longtime Intel insiders, often replaced with accomplished executives Krzanich hired away from other companies.
Fund’s abrupt departure appears different. He’s an Intel outsider hired by Krzanich in 2014.
Fund worked in California. Holthaus is a Hillsboro executive and Linfield College graduate, promoted last summer to run Intel sales and marketing.
Intel is enjoying robust growth in sales and profits despite a prolonged downturn in its core market, microprocessors for PCs and laptops. The company has compensated for those losses with tremendous growth in its highly profitable data center segment and with strong growth in smaller businesses, including memory chips and programmable chips.