Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. Picture: BLOOMBERG/MICHAEL NAGLE
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. Picture: BLOOMBERG/MICHAEL NAGLE

New York/San Francisco — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich sold off a chunk of company stock in the fourth quarter of 2017, bringing his holdings to a five-year low.

The sale has captured attention thanks to revelations that Intel chips are potentially vulnerable to hackers. Reports of the issue weighed on the shares and prompted the company to acknowledge the problem on Tuesday, saying its chips weren’t the only ones affected and predicting no material effect on its business.

"Brian’s sale is unrelated," a company spokesman said. "It was made pursuant to a prearranged stock sale plan with an automated sale schedule. He continues to hold shares in line with corporate guidelines."

According to filings, on November 29, Krzanich exercised and sold 644,135 options and sold an additional 245,743 shares he already owned. That sale decreased his overall holdings by about 50%, bringing his ownership level near to what he held at the end of 2013. Each of those share transactions were made according to the prearranged trading plan, which was adopted in June 2015.

Since the plan was set up, Krzanich has had a common trading pattern. In February, he gets his equity payout under Intel’s performance-based incentive plan. For fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017, he received 89,581, 87,061 and 278,868 shares, respectively. Then in the last quarter of each of those years, he makes sales that are proportionate to the awards he got. In the last quarter of 2015, he sold 70,000 and in 2016 he sold more than 50,000. And in 2017, the sale was much larger in light of the large payout he got in February.

The shares fell 3.2% to $43.80 at 11.18am in New York on Thursday.