Top Intel security executive Josh Walden is retiring from the company after working there for nearly 40 years, prompting a realignment of the two organizations he led.
Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s new CEO, announced Walden’s retirement Wednesday in a company-wide email seen by CRN. He said Walden will take a “well-deserved” sabbatical starting March 29, and Walden’s last day at the company will be May 7.
An Intel spokesperson confirmed Walden‘s retirement plan to CRN.
A senior vice president at Intel, Walden was part of the executive leadership team and served most recently as general manager of the Intel Product Assurance and Security and Security Architecture and Engineering organizations. He joined the Intel Product Assurance and Security group when it was formed in 2018 in response to the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities. He then became the group’s leader when his predecessor, Leslie Culbertson, retired in early 2020.
Walden also served a short stint as the interim head of Intel’s Design Engineering Group following last year’s departure of Intel Chief Engineering Officer Venkata Murthy Renduchintala, which had prompted a reorganization of the company’s engineering and manufacturing groups. Sunil Shenoy, a company veteran who had left Intel in 2014, took over the Design Engineering Group in February.
In the company email, Gelsinger said to “ensure continuity” and Intel’s commitment to product security, the Security Architecture and Engineering group will be led by Walden’s deputy, Martin Dixon, and move under Shenoy’s Design Engineering Group. The Intel Product Assurance and Security, on the other hand, will be led by Walden’s other deputy, Mohsen Fazlian, Gelsinger added, and the group’s placement within the company will be announced in “the coming weeks.”
“Our commitment to securing Intel’s products and our leadership in security and privacy broadly is unchanged,” Gelsinger wrote in the email.
When it was formed in 2018, the Intel Product Assurance and Security group centralized the company’s top security talent and embedded product security experts throughout the company to ensure that Intel is looking long-term at “the evolving threat landscape and continuously improving product security in the years ahead,” as the company explained at the time.
Walden joined Intel in 1983 as a process engineer and served in a variety of positions over his 38-year career at the company. Before he joined the Intel Product Assurance and Security group in 2018, Walden was senior vice president of Intel’s New Technology Group. Prior to that, he was vice president and general manager of the Platform Engineering Group.
In the company email, Gelsinger thanked Walden “for his outstanding contributions to Intel’s success” and credited him as a “versatile leader” whose career spanned multiple locations and a wide range of roles in research, security, technology development, manufacturing and design engineering.
“Equally important, Josh has been a champion of our culture evolution and actively role-models our values,” Gelsinger wrote in the email. “He’s sponsored numerous employee resource groups, serving as an advocate and ally to employees around the world. He’s also been a mentor and friend to many and will be missed.”
Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel distributor, said the chipmaker has made a lot of improvements to the security of its processors since the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were disclosed in 2018. He cited new security features coming to Intel’s forthcoming Ice Lake server processors, including Intel Software Guard Extensions, as evidence.
“These are all very positive things for the channel, for the resellers and for consumers ultimately,” he said. “I think people probably would have wanted them sooner, but it takes time at a hardware level to get those things designed in. Ultimately, what we‘re seeing now is far more secure processors.”