Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) has disclosed that it will cut 12,000 workers, or about 11% of its workforce. It has changed direction, management said, to focus more on the cloud. Arguably, the acknowledgment of the repositioning comes late, based on the crowded cloud sector. The architect of the changes is CEO Brian Krzanich, who made $14.6 million last year. He did not voluntarily take a pay cut as part of the effort to save costs, and clearly the board did not make him take one. It would have been a symbol that management participated in a restructuring too long in the making.
Arriving at a massively crowded party often has consequences. However, Intel can claim it has started to benefit from the cloud:
The data center and Internet of Things (IoT) businesses are Intel’s primary growth engines, with memory and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) accelerating these opportunities – fueling a virtuous cycle of growth for the company. These growth businesses delivered $2.2 billion in revenue growth last year, and made up 40 percent of revenue and the majority of operating profit, which largely offset the decline in the PC market segment.
Krzanich’s decision to restructure comes well in the cycle of the sunset of the personal computer. It cost Intel at the bottom line last quarter. Earnings rose only 2% to $0.42 per share from the same quarter a year ago. Sequentially, earnings dropped 43% from $0.74 per share.
Arguably, Wall Street has also criticized Krzanich for a series of decisions that caused Intel’s poor performance. Its shares traded at $36.18 at the start of 2015. That is against a $32 close after Intel announced results.
Usually, mediocre results cost a CEO some part of his compensation. The Intel board, and Krzanich himself, did not think so, even in the face of 12,000 layoffs.