Looks like the layoff was a critical component in a brand new grand strategy to pivot toward differentiation. GF has announced a pivot to IoT applications, which they expect to execute on now that they have gotten rid of their experienced technical workforce while rehiring college grads and more management.
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He took some time off most likely to come up with a new pivoting strategy. It's all in the pivot.
Hell, I didn't even know Pellerin (JP) was still around. That guy's a VP of Technology yet seems to have been very quiet and hiding during the whole 7nm thing and then pops out of his spider hole when 7nm dies to march the troops in the IoT battle zone. As Dan Rather would say "Courage".