By his own admission, Pat Gelsinger bleeds Intel (INTC) blue. It's no surprise seeing as the self-described tech geek started at the chipmaker at the age of 18, became its first chief technology officer and learned alongside storied Intel CEO Andy Grove.
But up until the announcement in mid-January that he would be Intel's eighth-ever CEO, Gelsinger was 11 years into the top job at cloud player VMWare.
"When I left the company [Intel] 11 years ago, I was pushed out of the company and it was hard. You know there is this typical phrase that what was meant for evil worked out for good. And boy it hurt at the time. It was difficult. But, it made me better," Gelsinger told Yahoo Finance Presents.
Gelsinger said he used the time as CEO of VMWare to learn new leadership skills that ultimately set him up perfectly to return home as Intel's chief. VMWare shareholders were handsomely rewarded under Gelsinger's watch: amid the acceleration in the cloud, shares of VMWare have gained 193% these past five years.
Recalls Gelsinger, "My 11-year vacation as I call it, I became a seasoned CEO. I have learned new leadership skills in customer focus, a new emphasis on diversity and inclusion and what it means to build a culture, and how to work with finance on the Street. All of these things are now combining with that 30-year experience I had at Intel. I will say every neural pattern that I ever exercised is being used fully every day on the job at Intel."
Those neural patterns of Gelsinger have surely been firing on warp overdrive this week.
The company — which has been pressured to outsource more of its chipmaking — announced Tuesday during a business update its plan to invest $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona. Intel also committed to making chips for other companies in a bid to increase industry capacity.
"There is an extraordinary demand for semiconductors as we're seeing basically, the world is becoming more digital in every aspect," Gelsinger said.
Gelsinger will further be bringing back Intel's version of a developer's conference in October.
"It really is an extraordinary opportunity that I have been given to come back and play this role," Gelsinger said.
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