Home Security Intel chief sold shares after company told of bugs: report

Intel chief sold shares after company told of bugs: report

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich sold stock and options and netted US$25 million in late November last year, well after Google had informed the company of flaws in its processors but before the flaws became public knowledge.

A report in Business Insider said an Intel representative had told it that Google had informed the processor maker about the flaws — dubbed Meltdown and Spectre — in June 2017.

Meltdown removes the barrier between user applications and sensitive parts of the operating system while Spectre, which is also reportedly found in some AMD and ARM processors, can trick vulnerable applications into leaking the contents of their memory.

While Intel claims that the stock sale was part of a planned divestiture, Krzanich (below, right) put the plan in place only in October, the report said.

The sale left the Intel chief with the minimum shares of the company's stock — 250,000 — that he has to be in possession of under his employment contract.

krzanich vertThe SEC did not comment when asked about the sale.

Intel told BI that the sale was not related to the two flaws, which are present in all Intel processors dating back to 1995.

“Brian’s sale is unrelated,” the company said. Krzanich “continues to hold shares in line with corporate guidelines".

BI said that while many companies put in place plans to sell stock well ahead of schedule, and Krzanich's sale — of 245,743 shares owned by him and 644,135 shares obtained by exercising his options — was made under such a plan, he only put the plan in place on 30 October.

Intel's share price has fallen since the Meltdown and Spectre flaws became common knowledge.

Krzanich was appointed chief executive and elected a member of the board of directors on 16 May 2013. He is the sixth chief executive of the company and succeeded Paul Otellini.

intel ceo stock chart

Meanwhile, Intel issued a statement saying that software fixes for 90% of its processors issued during the last five years that are affected by the two flaws will be issued by the end of next week. The bugs affect all Intel processors issued since 1995.

"In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services," the company said. "In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services," the company said.

"Intel continues to believe that the performance impact of these updates is highly workload-dependent and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time. 

"While on some discrete workloads the performance impact from the software updates may initially be higher, additional post-deployment identification, testing and improvement of the software updates should mitigate that impact."

Photo of Brian Krzanich courtesy Intel; share price graph courtesy Google Finance, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.