On October 30, 2017, Intel CEO Krzanich sold off 900,000 shares of Intel stock, receiving more than $39 million. Krzanich sold every share of stock he could legally sell leaving only the bare minimum 250,000 shares he is contractually required to own as Intel CEO.
It is illegal for any company officer to sell or buy stock based on insider information.
Although some information about a potential security vulnerability with Intel CPUs was publicly disclosed in late November 2017, it was on January 3, 2018 that the complete truth about the massive security vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs was publicly revealed by The Register, a U.K. based tech newspaper.
We know that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was informed of these massive security flaws at least as early as June 1, 2017, when a researcher from Google Project Zero apprised Intel of the vulnerabilities to Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
Intel claims there is nothing to see here and the sale of the stock is “unrelated” to revelations about these security vulnerabilities.
But given the extremely fortuitous timing of the sale, the fact that every possible share was sold, along with Intel’s recent history of concealing important information from the public, the sale of stock by Intel’s CEO looks indefensible.
In August 2017, only weeks before Equifax revealed its massive security breach, three Equifax executives sold large blocks of stock. Like Intel, Equifax claims these sales were unrelated to the security breach and these executives, the CFO, President of Information Solutions and President of Workforce Solutions, were not even aware of the breach at the time of these sales. The Justice Department found the timing suspicious enough to open a criminal investigation into these trades.
Whether a similar criminal investigation into Intel CEO Krzanich’s trades will take place is not yet known.