Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) CEO Brian Krzanich has been hammered for selling shares before his company disclosed that some of its chips allowed for security flaws. He also has been criticized that the chips have flaws at all. Despite the recent attacks, he has been a good steward for shareholders. Intel’s stock is up 120% since Krzanich took over as chief executive in May 2013.
Krzanich told an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that the tech industry had been unusually swift as it worked to battle a security breakdown in chip design. He also said he expected Intel to update its chips in a matter of weeks so that they will no longer be vulnerable. Experts told Intel about chip problems sometime in the early summer. Krzanich sold 250,000 Intel shares in October. The optics, as they say, were bad. Intel defended his sale, indicating it was not due to his reaction to the problem.
Intel has gone through the mundane steps all large tech companies do during CES. It showed new autonomous cars that use technology from its Mobileye division. Intel announced another deal with Ferrari North America and one with chip company Micron. As is often the case with CES announcements, these are dazzling but produce few commercial products. As an example, Intel flew a number of drones on the Las Vegas Strip. Certainly, those will come in handy for some company at some point. Or not.
Lost in all the recent news is Krzanich’s performance at Intel. Intel’s share value under Krzanich has come close to matching the increase in the Nasdaq, which is up 126%. Intel did not have much of a future a few years ago, according to some experts. It was in the PC chip business when the PC business was dying with the rise of the smartphone. But, in the past five fiscal years, Intel’s revenue has gone from $53.3 billion to $54.9 billion. Net income has trailed off a little over the same period from $11.0 billion to $10.3 billion. While these numbers are not close to the rise in revenue and profits at Apple or Microsoft, Intel has held a steady course over a period in which some tech companies have been decimated.
Short term, Krzanich deserves some heat. Long term, he has done a good job.