Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich resigned after an investigation showed he had a consensual relationship with an employee, a violation of the company's non-fraternization policy for managers, Intel said in a statement Thursday.
His departure comes amid a re-examination of the treatment of women in the workplace and in informal business arrangements in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. In this case, the affair was consensual. But Intel has a strict policy that forbids managers from having romantic or sexual relationships with employees.
Non-fraternization rules vary widely across corporate America. But amid the #MeToo movement backlash, many companies have been shoring up their policies — or jettisoning executives who violate standards of conduct.
These policies typically prohibit relationships between a manager and direct or indirect reports, lawyers who deal with employment issues say. Some companies require workers to report relationships with peers.
Chief executives face extra scrutiny. Earlier this year Lululemon chief executive Laurent Potdevin resigned after revelations of a relationship with an employee. Leaders of Priceline, Best Buy and Pixar, a division of Disney, also left over workplace romances or misconduct.
But none have led a company as large as Intel, which is worth $245 billion and rarely has turnover at the top. Krzanich is only the company's sixth chief executive since it was founded in 1968.
Now 58, Krzanich started at Intel in 1982 as a process engineer. Though the company is best known as a computer chip maker, it had been diversifying under Krzanich’s leadership. The company's stock closed down more than 2 percent on Thursday.