Intel's new data centre chief, a former PC exec, will be hands-on

Navin Shenoy is the new general manager of Intel's money-making Data Center Group, replacing Diane Bryant, who has gone on a temporary leave of absence

A top executive responsible for shaping Intel's PC roadmap will now run the company's data center business.

Navin Shenoy -- previously senior vice president and general manager of the company's Client Computing Group -- has been appointed the general manager of Intel's Data Center Group (DCG). He will replace the well-respected Diane Bryant, who was group president of DCG.

Bryant is taking a leave of absence for six to eight months, and will be given a new position on returning, Intel said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Bryant was one of Intel's more powerful executives and turned DCG into a money maker. The DCG unit deals in server, networking and storage equipment, which are seen as the future of Intel, especially with its limited focus on PCs.

Replacing Bryant is no small task, but Intel thought Shenoy was a key talent, given his success with the company's PC business, analysts said. Intel previously flipped Kirk Skaugen from the data center to the PC group, but he is no longer with the company.

Intel hopes that DCG eventually becomes a larger revenue earner than the Client Computing Group, which deals in PCs. The goal is to put more server chips and equipment in data centers as computing moves into the cloud and as the IoT market grows.

The articulate Shenoy was hands-on with the PC group and will bring the same focus to DCG.

DCG is the only part of Intel firing on all cylinders, and Shenoy's appointment will have a positive influence on organizations that are buying, using, and developing for servers, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

Shenoy is a key executive, and Intel has consistently been moving important employees into fast-growing areas in the company, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

There's been a change in Intel's management over the last few years, with one key appointment in 2015 being Venkata Renduchintala, who is the second-in-command to CEO Brian Krzanich. Renduchintala holds the long title of group president of the Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture and chief engineering officer at Intel.

Since his arrival, Renduchintala's influence has been spreading, and he has a big say in the company's decisions. He was Shenoy's boss and may have played a role in moving him to run the Data Center Group. While Bryant was there, nobody else -- not even Renduchintala -- touched the DCG business, except for Kraznich.

Renduchintala will temporarily take charge of the PC group. Intel is now looking for somebody to replace Shenoy as the general manager of the PC group.

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