AMD brings in Mark Papermaster as CTO


— 11:31 AM on October 19, 2011

These past few years have been quite eventful for Mark Papermaster. In 2008, he left IBM after a 26-year stretch to head the iPod and iPhone hardware teams at Apple. He was subsequently sued by his former employer, then left Apple in August 2010 shortly after the iPhone 4 antenna issues came to light. Now, after barely a year at Cisco, Papermaster has joined AMD:

AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced today that Mark Papermaster, 50, has joined as the company’s senior vice president and chief technology officer. He will report to President and Chief Executive Officer Rory Read and will oversee all of AMD’s engineering, research and development (R&D), and product development functions as the head of the newly-formed Technology and Engineering Group. Papermaster, who was most recently vice president of Silicon Engineering at Cisco, will be responsible for establishing and executing the company’s technology and product roadmaps, integrated hardware and software development, and overseeing the creation of all of AMD’s products.

The advanced research and development team led by Senior Vice President of Research and Development Chekib Akrout, as well as the engineering teams residing in AMD’s Products Group, will now report to Papermaster. Akrout, 53, will maintain responsibility for leading AMD’s processor core development as well as system-on-a-chip (SoC) design methodology. In recognition of his ongoing technical and management contributions, Akrout will continue serving on AMD’s senior leadership team responsible for key decision making and strategy setting.

The Wall Street Journal said Papermaster's departure from Apple was driven by "broader cultural incompatibility" and a loss of confidence from Steve Jobs. Perhaps Papermaster will fit in better at AMD, though. He certainly has the credentials to do so.

According to the court decision about the aforementioned lawsuit, Papermaster spent a whopping 15 years working on CPU development at IBM. His work centered on IBM's Power architecture, and he eventually became IBM's VP of Microprocessor Technology Development. Papermaster is purportedly "viewed within IBM as the 'top expert' in 'Power' architecture . . . and in the industry as an 'extremely well-respected figure in the clubby world of chip design.'" That's quite a track record.

AMD's decision to bring on Papermaster might be related to the relatively underwhelming performance of the first wave of Bulldozer CPUs. In any case, let's hope Papermaster helps AMD put up a better fight against Intel.

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