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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Intel Corp. Executives
Shady or even Criminal Behavior

We have covered the massive age discrimination practices that resulted in forced retirements and massive layoffs of older Intel Corp. employees in 2015, 2016 and beyond. When I talk face-to-face with members of PDX-TIE.ORG or other ex-Intel employees (less frequently, due to COVID-19) I am surprised about their ignorance regarding the fact that the company is faced with so many very significant lawsuits due to various shady and perhaps criminal behavior of its senior executives and the board of directors.

From my own perspective, the 2015/2016 layoffs were the event that "broke the camel's back" and proliferated the seeds of corruption and mistrust between Intel Corp. Executive management and the remainder of employees workforce.

While the "Executive Class" at Intel Corporation looked at their bonuses and the stock market evaluation of the company as their main goal, they lost their "moral compass" to unproductive finger-pointing, coverup and greed. Make no mistake, technological challenges always abound in the engineering world. This is why people who pursue engineering as a career, typically belong to "problem Solver" personality class. The main challenge for true engineers (not "engineers" in title or even by university degree) is to get their managers to overcome their "risk aversion" and "cover your ass" attitude. Technology may be challenged by rules of physics; however, management and particularly Executive Management is challenged by human behavioral factors that are essentially all "man-made".

The old "Intel Culture" defined the path for coexistence between both "risk taking" (as in venturing to achieve extremely high goals) and "risk management" (challenging the validity of ideas based on data or provable facts through the "constructive confrontation", rules of debate). These principles were the core values of the company and enabled its workforce to great achievements, through "thick and thin", while facing both technological challenges as well as tough competition in the Semiconductor market segment.

The great principles of "Intel Culture" were eroded, slowly but surely, over a long period of time,after Andrew Grove was replaced as CEO of the company by a series of successors.

The worst Intel Corp. CEO without a doubt was Brian Krzanich (BK), who did not only violate the basic principles of "Intel Culture", but actually made a great effort to overrule and wipe it out in his zeal to receive his Executive Bonuses. It is ironic that BK was forced to resign his post as CEO, due to blatant violation of the the Employee Handbook--the same operational handbook that spelled the rules of "Intel Culture".(see: https://www.pdx-tie.org/2018/06/mf-intel-ceo-resignation-raises-more.html)

The major side effect of getting rid of experienced (and older) employees, who grew up on principles known as "Intel Culture" (attributed to ex-CEO Andrew Grove), was the erosion of the company founders values. "Intel Culture" promoted transparency and discipline from employees at all levels, including the Executives level of offices up to the CEO level.

The sudden disappearance (due to forced "early retirement" and massive layoffs) of older employees (who themselves grew up on "Intel Culture"), left  the younger generations of Intel Corp. employees, who replaced the "old timers", having to learn their way around the various company operations, on their own.

The Intel Corp. Executive Class was so detached from reality that they believed in younger replacement employees' ability to ramp-up on-their own, without the benefit of experienced employees, being around to consult and guide the newcomers (in Intel speak the "NEOs"). Apparently, these executives believed that product design engineers and Fab workers can perform their job by watching YouTube videos and sharing messages through Twitter or Facebook.

 

Over the last five years, we have seen plenty of evidence to the aftermath that was left following the 2015/2016 layoffs, as the "transparency" "Open Door" "problem ownership" and "constructive confrontation" elements of Grove's "Intel Culture" were replaced by coverup and severe suppression of facts, in addition to the fabrication of "fake news, public relations campaigns" designed to keep both company employees and stock holders, at bay.

Unfortunately, there are too many similarities of Executive Class behaviors in corporate America that are created by people whose self-interest and greed, end up working against the company's long-term interests as well as the company employees best interests.

The Boeing B737MAX program fiasco, has so many parallels to the Intel story, in terms of Corporate Executives forcing their way on their underlings by decree and without listening to employees feedback. Between the Boeing case and the Intel Corp. case there is only one exception: thus far (as far as we know) Intel Corp. actions did not result in the loss of human lives.

Currently, there are  a number of legal processes undergoing against Intel Corp., which allegedly, involve anything, from mismanagement of the old employee pension fund (that was in effect until 2009), to long-term coverup of functional "bugs" that are "featured" into the Intel chips "Architecture", to making false statement to stock holders and potential stock holders of INTC equities.

The most significant decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to allow the law suite against Intel Corp. "old pension fund", originally filed in 2015 by former Intel engineer Christopher Sulyma, to proceed without delays. This should be the talk of the day. For some reason, this law suit is not getting much attention in the press.
 
Since the Sulyma Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) legal case reached the SCOTUS level of jurisdiction, it is easy to understand that Intel Corp. legal defense strategy is and has always been, based on eroding the resolve of individual plaintiffs, by resorting to legal maneuvering, stalling, and outright lying.

I believe that every current or ex-employee of Intel Corporation, as well as current or past investors of INTC shares, should follow-up on these articles: