EVP and GM of Intel’s Technology Development

It’s somewhat of an understatement to say that Intel’s future roadmap on its process node development is one of the most aggressive in the history of semiconductor design. The company is promising to pump out process nodes quicker than we’ve ever seen, despite having gone through a recent development struggle. Even with CEO Pat Gelsinger promising more than ever before, it’s up to Intel’s Technology Development (TD) team to pick up the ball and run with it in innovative ways to make that happen. In charge of it all is Dr. Ann Kelleher, EVP and GM of Intel’s Technology Development, and on the back of some strong announcements last year we reached out for the chance to interview her regarding Intel’s strategy.

Dr. Kelleher is a long-time Intel employee, going back 26 years and starting in Intel Ireland. Starting with semiconductor research, Dr. Kelleher took roles in manufacturing, rising through the ranks to Fab Manager and then being in charge of all of Intel’s manufacturing facilities. The pivot to Technology Development, as we’ll see in the questions below, is a complementary move that brings together both the experience of development and manufacturing. What I loved about speaking to Ann is the element of quiet but striking determinism in the way she spoke – for as much as the CEO is shouting from the rooftops about Intel’s ability to execute, a few minutes with Ann showcases just how focused the people who have to do the research and development really are and how important it is to them on a personal level. 

Dr. Ann Kelleher


Dr. Ian Cutress


This interview took place before Intel’s Investor Meeting.


Ian Cutress: Going through your history, you joined Intel in early 1996, making you a 26-year veteran of the company – an Intel ‘lifer’! In working up from Process Engineer, to now GM of Technology Development, what exactly has been your journey through Intel?

Ann Kelleher: Well, I started back in 1996 – maybe I even started a little bit before 1996. When I was in college, I did a Master’s and a PhD – I did it in a research centre in Ireland, which was called the National Microelectronics Research Centre, which was in Cork. Then when I finished there, I went to imec in Belgium and I did a postdoc, and then I returned to Ireland. Then I was leading a small research group, in the same research institute as my PhD, but Intel Ireland was starting up a factory at the time. It was a new factory that became Fab 14. They were hiring for Fab 14, and at the time they basically asked me to come and talk to them, they asked me to come and interview, and I did.

I got the job. At the time, I thought I would come for a year. A lot of my job prior to joining Intel was basically writing project

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Intel’s CEO comes to Oregon, stumping for billions to aid his industry and his company

Few things cost more than a computer chip plant.

Two Intel factories under construction in Arizona will run $10 billion apiece – each as much as a dozen NFL stadiums. Just a handful of companies in the world can afford to spend that much, and some do it with considerable help from their governments.

Asian nations pour billions of dollars into their semiconductor industries, and competitors in the United States and Europe say those tax breaks and government subsidies explain why those countries dominate chip manufacturing.

Now, the domestic semiconductor industry wants U.S. taxpayers to chip in, too.

Bipartisan legislation before Congress would direct $52 billion to subsidize construction of new factories across the country. The proposal, known as the CHIPS Act, also provides billions for American companies’ research into the semiconductor technologies of tomorrow.

“It’s a competition between companies as much as it is a competition between nations,” said Al Thompson, Intel’s vice president for government relations. He said the federal money would give the U.S. the opportunity to reassert technological leadership.

For Intel, the need is all the more urgent as it commits tens of billions of dollars to build new factories – the industry calls them fabs – and overcome a decade of manufacturing failures. In addition to the two new Arizona factories, Intel says it’s close to choosing sites for a factory in Europe and a site somewhere new in the U.S.

Intel expects to spend up to $28 billion on its fabs in 2022, up from around $19 billion this year, as it races to expand with leading-edge facilities. The price tag has alarmed investors, and Intel is counting on several billion dollars from the CHIPS Act to help offset its costs.

The comeback plan represents a bet-the-company moment for Intel and its new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who will be in Portland on Monday to take up the cause at the Oregon Business Plan’s annual leadership summit. Oregon is home to Intel’s largest and most advanced operations, but Monday’s talk will be the first time an Intel CEO has addressed a public audience in the state in more than a decade.

The CHIPS Act is a rarity in American politics, a major piece of new spending that has broad support from both Democrats and Republicans, who are united by concerns over the billions of dollars China is spending to create its own chip industry. Both the Trump and Biden administrations championed the legislation.

However, after the Senate approved the money in June — as part of a larger package aimed at making the U.S. more competitive technologically — the legislation stalled in the House as the chamber wrestled over other priorities.

Political observers expect the subsidies will pass in some form, either late this year or early in 2022. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Samsung are building new fabs in Arizona and Texas, respectively, reflecting the confidence those companies have that the U.S. will help pay for them.

That could be evidence

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