Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold off a large portion of his stake in the company on November 16, 2016—only months after Google informed the company that there was a significant vulnerability in its popular PC processors. This large stock sale took place before the vulnerability was public knowledge, which opens Krzanich up to allegations of possible misconduct.
The sale left Krzanich with just 250,000 shares in the company, which is the minimum required by his contract as CEO. He sold 245,743 shares of stock that he owned outright, as well as 644,135 more shares that were promised to him in his contract. In all, he sold off over $39 million of stock a little over four months after he learned about the flaws in Intel’s processors.
The chip vulnerabilities, known as Meltdown and Spectre, could affect billions of devices worldwide that are powered by the company’s microprocessors. These hardware vulnerabilities allow malware to steal information as it is processed on the computer. While running programs are typically not permitted to read data from other programs, malicious software can exploit Meltdown and Spectre to obtain data stored in the memory of other running programs. This could include your passwords stored in a browser or password manager, documents, emails, and photos.
As for Krzanich’s massive stock sale, Intel claims it was unrelated to the vulnerability and came as part of a planned divestiture program. It is interesting to note that Krzanich put that stock-sale plan in place in October — four months after Google informed Intel of the vulnerability.
Regarding the timing of their CEO’s stock sale and the discovery of the vulnerabilities a representative for Intel told Business Insider UK in a statement that, “…Brian’s sale is unrelated. He continues to hold shares in-line with corporate guidelines.”
According to a January 8, 2017 press release Block & Leviton, a securities litigation firm representing investors, is investigating Krzanich’s stock sale. They are asking Intel investors who purchased their shares on or before October 30, 2017 to contact attorney Bradley Vettraino at (617) 398-5600, by e-mail at email@example.com , or by visiting http://www.blockesq.com/intelceo They are also encouraging whistleblowers or others with information about Mr. Krzanich’s stock sales to contact the attorney.
Brian Krzanich has been the CEO of Intel since May 2013
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