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AMD slowly replenishes its ranks

December 16, 2011

Advanced Micro Devices has hired another senior executive to replenish its ranks and get back on track following the appointment of a new CEO.

New Chief Executive Rory Read, who started in August, has lured Lisa Su from Freescale Semiconductor to head up AMD’s client, commercial, graphics and game console markets.

Su will define the requirements for new chips and get them to market. To get that done she’ll work closely with Mark Papermaster, who joined AMD in October to head up R&D and engineering of new chips.

Papermaster once worked on iPod and iPhone development at Apple and should be a major asset as AMD focuses more on making energy-efficient chips for mobile devices.

Read’s arrival at AMD ended an eight month search after the board forced out chief executive Dirk Meyer at the start of the year. Board members — by some accounts awed at a plethora of tablets and smartphones running ARM-based chips at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — reportedly disagreed with Meyer over what they saw as his slow approach to attacking the mobile market.

Other executives left AMD soon after Meyer’s departure.

Read has emphasized cleaning up AMD’s execution troubles, including problems with foundry partner GlobalFoundries manufacturing its new 32 nanometer Llano chips.

In November, Read cut 10 percent of AMD’s workforce, equivalent to over 1,000 people, in a bid to trim $200 in operating costs and bankroll research and expansion into low-power chips and cloud computing.

Shortly after Read began, highly respected AMD veteran executive Rick Bergman jumped ship, and he has yet to be replaced. An AMD spokesman said to expect more senior executives to be appointed, including a head of human resources and a head of strategy.

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