After long search, AMD hires a new chief executive

Former Lenovo Group COO Rory Read will try to lead chipmaker into mobile age

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Back in January, Advanced Micro Devices announced that chief executive Dirk Meyer had resigned "in mutual agreement with the board of directors."

A mere 7 1/2 months later, the semiconductor manufacturer has found a replacement. It's former Lenovo Group president and chief operating officer Rory P. Read.

Shares of AMD (NYSE: AMD) were up as high as 36 cents, or 5.7%, in Thursday trading.

"Rory is a proven leader with an impressive record of driving profitable growth," AMD board Chairman Bruce Claflin said in a statement. "He is ideally suited to accelerate AMD’s evolution into the world’s leading semiconductor design company."

That may well be, but according to the Wall Street Journal, "AMD had struggled to replace Meyer, with a number of prominent executives turning down AMD's advances."

When Meyer resigned at the beginning of the year, CFO Thomas Seifert took over, though he made it clear he wasn't interested in the job full-time. Seifert now will return to his CFO duties.

Read, 49, became president and COO of Lenovo in 2009. As director of the PC manufacturer, AMD said, Read "drove double-digit revenue growth and market share gains, reversing operating losses and delivering consistent profitability."

AMD could use some of that mojo. In its most recent quarter, AMD reported a 5% decrease in year-over-year revenue, while its net earnings of 8 cents per share was an improvement over the loss of 6 cents per share in last year's second quarter, but well below Q1's net profit of 68 cents per share.

Read, who also spent 23 years at IBM prior to joining Lenovo in 2006, said he was "very pleased to be joining AMD at this important time in its history."

One major task facing Read is positioning AMD as a supplier of chips for mobile devices. Like its larger rival, Intel, AMD is seeing demand for its computer chips fall as more consumers opt for tablets and smartphones, neither of which use AMD's semiconductors.

Indeed, it was the board's impression that Meyer wasn't preparing AMD for the emerging mobile market that led to his ouster.

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