Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductor startup Untether AI has made some leadership changes, bringing on a new CEO and board director.

Intel-backed Untether AI has appointed former Intel leader and Untether AI president Chris Walker as CEO. Walker replaces Arun Iyengar, who has led Untether AI for most of its existence and will continue to support the AI chip firm during the transition. Untether AI has also added Google and Nvidia alum Amir Salek as a board director and senior technical advisor. 

According to Iyengar, Untether AI has now “put in place a team ready to take the company to its next level of growth and success.”

Untether AI announced both of these moves on January 4, sharing little detail regarding the rationale for the CEO change beyond noting that it comes as Untether AI “enters a new phase of growth.” In a statement, Iyengar said, “I’m gratified by Untether AI’s accomplishments over the past five years,” adding that the firm has now “put in place a team ready to take the company to its next level of growth and success.”

The appointments of Walker and Salek come as Untether AI is gearing up to bring its next-generation technology to market, at a time when many companies are racing to adopt AI but struggling to access the necessary hardware amid chip shortages.

BetaKit has reached out to Untether AI and Iyengar for additional comment.

Untether AI was founded in 2018 by Martin Snelgrove, Darrick Wiebe, and Raymond Chik with the goal of developing chips designed to help AI workloads “run faster and cooler.” Iyengar became Untether AI’s CEO in September 2019. Today, the startup offers “energy-centric AI inference acceleration from the edge to the cloud.” 

To date, Untether AI has raised more than $160 million CAD in funding from a group that includes Intel, Tracker Capital, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Radical Ventures.

RELATED: Google and Nvidia-backed CentML secures $37 million CAD to help companies deploy AI amid chip shortages

Walker previously spent nearly 30 years working at Intel, most recently as corporate vice president and general manager and leader of the chip giant’s mobile business unit. He joined Untether AI as president last August to spearhead the company’s commercialization efforts.

“Untether AI has been growing at a rapid pace and [Walker] brings unique experience, growing world-leading chip businesses at the highest level,” Iyengar said in a statement at the time. “[Walker’s] experience in business, engineering, and architecture while focused on driving customer results makes him the ideal leader to take on Untether AI’s rapidly expanding commercial demands.” 

Salek is a former senior director of engineering at Nvidia who more recently served as head of silicon for Google Infrastructure and Cloud. He is currently the senior managing director at American alternative investing giant Cerberus Capital Management, where Walker also works as a senior advisor.

Untether AI said its next-generation AI inference accelerator is currently in fabrication and is on track to sample during the first half of 2024.

Feature image courtesy Untether AI.

The post Untether AI names Intel veteran Chris Walker as its new CEO first appeared on BetaKit.

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