Brian Krzanich, Intel’s chief executive, stepped down late Monday from a panel that advised the White House on manufacturing policy.
His resignation from the American Manufacturing Council came after what many perceived as President Trump’s ambiguous response to clashes between white nationalists and counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Va. He joined an exodus of business leaders from the advisory panel.
Early Monday, Krzanich first issued a statement that asked the country's leaders to condemn white supremacy. Later in the day, he released another statement in which he announced that he had left the council out of vexation with the state of American politics. In neither statement did he name President Trump.
"I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing," he said in that statement.
For months, Intel has been closely monitoring tax and trade policies that could affect the semiconductor industry, which is an extremely globalized business. Krzanich, who has been chief executive since 2013, has danced delicately to remain in the good graces of both the White House and liberal-leaning Silicon Valley.
In February, Intel said that it would commit $7 billion to an Arizona fab, which would create 3,000 jobs. Krzanich made the announcement in the Oval Office and gave credit to President Trump for the factory investment, which actually had been announced in 2011. That came a day after Krzanich followed other Silicon Valley firms by denouncing Trump’s immigration ban in an email to employees.
His resignation came hours after Kenneth Frazier, chief executive of pharmaceutical company Merck, left the council in the wake of the violence that occurred in Charlottesville last week. Under Armour chief Kevin Plank also resigned, saying that his company “engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”
“I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them," Krzanich said in his statement. "We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does.”
"I am not a politician," Krzanich said. "I am an engineer who has spent most of his career working in factories that manufacture the world’s most advanced devices." He added that, "Promoting American manufacturing should not be a political issue."