Intel CEO share dump 'unrelated' to processor flaws

Intel CEO share dump 'unrelated' to processor flaws

GBH Insights Chief Strategy Analyst Daniel Ives says Krzanich's stock sale was "cookie cutter" and not a concern.

Intel also says that it does not expect material financial impacts from the design flaw, although it remains too early to know for sure.

The stock sale raised eyebrows when it was disclosed, primarily because it left Krzanich with just 250,000 shares of Intel stock - the bare minimum the company requires him to hold under his employment agreement.

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.

Intel's chief executive officer sold shares in his company several months after Google informed the chipmaker of a serious security problem affecting its products.

The shares were sold in accordance with a SEC Rule 10b5-1 plan, which is meant to prevent illegal insider trading by allowing company executives to create predetermined, automatic selling plans.

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 2016. Krzanich sold $24 million in stocks and options back on November 29 although an Intel spokesperson claims the sale was part of a planned divestiture program (PDP) and had nothing to do with the vulnerabilities. He sold 242,830 shares in one transaction and 2,913 shares in a separate transaction, with the average price for those shares coming out to $44.55 per share-allowing the Intel CEO to pocket about $11 million. The stock dump came about a month before news of the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities became public this week.

While Intel shares took a hit from yesterday's revelation, they continue to trade higher than where Krzanich sold last November.

On Thursday, Axios reported that Krzanich had revised his company's trading plan in October.

Krzanich disclosed his plan to sell Intel shares in October, according to an SEC filing from Oct. 30. It's common for a company dealing with security flaws to sit on the information in hopes of fixing the problem before hackers discover the vulnerabilities. Despite the representative stating the plan was unrelated, it certainly seems convenient for Krzanich that it occurred before news of the flaws caused shares to drop 3.4 percent on Wednesday.

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