Updated: AMD picks a CEO: former Lenovo COO Rory Read

Over seven months after the departure of Dirk Meyer, AMD has finally found someone to fill his shoes. Say hello to Rory Read, age 49, former Lenovo President and Chief Operating Officer and, as of today, AMD CEO and board member. Here’s what AMD has to say about him:

Rory P. Read spent five years at Lenovo. During his tenure as President and COO, Read led a global business turnaround that resulted in record market share gains, strong revenue growth and significant improvements in operating income.
Prior to Lenovo, Read spent 23 years at IBM where he held a broad range of management positions. While at IBM, Read consistently grew revenues while significantly improving the operating profitability for the groups under his management.

Read himself states:

“I’m very pleased to be joining AMD at this important time in its history. AMD is a true innovator and is uniquely positioned to lead the industry forward, delivering the next big thing both within the PC ecosystem and beyond,” said Read. “AMD has strong momentum and the opportunity to continue profitably gaining share based on its highly differentiated products, solid financial foundation, and passionate and committed employees. I’m excited to be joining AMD’s employees as we write the next chapter not just for the company, but for the industry and consumers around the world.”

Read’s arrival means that Thomas Seifert, who served as interim CEO after Dirk Meyer’s resignation, has returned to his role as as AMD’s Chief Financial Officer. Bruce Clafin has also dropped the “Executive” from his title and is now, once again, AMD’s Chairman.

AMD will reveal more details about the transition during a conference call at 11:15 AM CDT this morning. The call is supposed to be relayed in real time on the AMD website, so curious souls should be able to listen in.

Update 12:48 PM: Based on what was said during the call, it sounds like Read’s prior role as an AMD customer at Lenovo was a key factor in his selection as CEO. Read says he can play an “interesting” role at AMD by “bringing the voice of the customer” to the table.

Not so surprisingly, several folks in the Q&A session asked about how AMD intends to handle the looming threat from ARM in not just ultra-mobile devices, but also PCs. (Some have speculated that Dirk Meyer was ousted because of his failure to go after the ultra-mobile market more aggressively.) On that topic, Read and the other AMD execs on the call made no secret of their desire to go after ARM in “lower power bands.” However, they also expressed optimism about the traditional PC industry, pointing out that there’s plenty of room for growth in the developing world. AMD doesn’t seem to see ARM as a threat to its core business—or if it does, it’s downplaying that threat.

Comments closed
    • abw
    • 8 years ago

    Pat Gelsinger was a smarter choice , but unfortunately , he declined the offer…

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    There’s just one more thing this announcement may suggest which many folks seem to have overlooked. It’s potentially a good indicator of Bulldozer’s performance. Major OEMs have surely gotten hold of Bulldozer engineering samples for the past year or so, and Lenovo is almost surely one of them. These OEMs are privy to what BD is. If BD’s performance is abysmal or it looks like it’ll give AMD trouble against a giant which even the largest companies have avoided competing with for the next 3-4 years, I don’t think any high flying executive will put his career on the line running a company which is no stranger to quarterly losses and just had its last CEO ousted out in an untimely fashion.

    Does this mean BD is a winner? I would like to think that it’ll be. We’ll know in a few weeks.

    • henfactor
    • 8 years ago

    Dirk was better looking.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      The good (Jerry), the bad (Hector), and the ugly (this new guy).

    • Game_boy
    • 8 years ago

    I really wanted Gelsinger (formerly at Intel).

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      And I really wanted Jerry to be back.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Perhaps hiring someone outside AMD is a good idea. This reminds me about the time Nissan hired Carlos Ghosn to fix the ailing car company. As someone from outside, Ghosn brought with him new ideas and leadership styles that Nissan veterans found difficult to swallow at first but the results ultimately spoke for themselves and gained him respect. Ghosn also wasn’t burdened with the fear of burning down old relationships; he was able to do what he had to even if it meant bellowing or raising his voice at employees or associates.

    Going back to AMD and its spunky brand new CEO, it’s too early to say. This Read fellow may have a shiny resume but that’s no guarantee he’ll be a shiny CEO for his entire tenure at AMD. Frankly, there’s no CEO like someone who actually started and grew the company with his own sweat and blood (just look at Apple, Microsoft, Honda, Nvidia, etc.), but I guess Jerry is nowhere to be found.

    Let’s hope Read has the balls to wrestle an 800lb. gorilla coz it’s not easy dancing with Intel.

    • Duck
    • 8 years ago

    How much does this job pay does anyone know?

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      About 1 million in base, plus ~1.2 million a year in bonus + perks and golden parachutes in the tens of million.
      There is also a huge associated signing bonus + extra option worth a few millions.

      This is based on Dirk Meyer official report. I’m guessing this dude will get way more because nobody wanted to join as CEO and they might have to sweeten the pot by a big deal. Many consider being AMD CEO a career suicide.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Many consider being AMD CEO a career suicide.[/quote<] I would call it an exit plan... particularly that parachute gives you a nice soft landing to early retirement.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        > Many consider being AMD CEO a career suicide.

        More like career potential. If you can turn a losing company around the bonus potential is massive.

          • ronch
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah, but the last two CEOs weren’t exactly Jack Welches. And you gotta master the art of being a David fighting against a Goliath if you wanna run AMD. Even Paul O. would shiver at the thought.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Many consider being AMD CEO a career suicide.[/quote<] Bunch of greedy bastards. Don't you think a person could have a nice retirement after earning a couple million for a couple years plus a few more millions in retirement?

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    Not a bad idea to hire somebody who knows nothing about chip design. Maybe that’ll shake things up a bit.

      • ermo
      • 8 years ago

      We shall see, as the Zen Master said.

      • tejas84
      • 8 years ago

      I agree NeelyCam, Rory Read seems like a good choice for AMD. Hopefully he will start looking at making an ARM SoC to compete with Nvidia, Qualcomm etc etc

        • sschaem
        • 8 years ago

        Qualcomm, you mean to compete with ATI SoC that Dirk M sold qualcomm in 2009 for 62million? (with the pattent, R&D team, sales team and all custumer relationships?)
        Nokia, motorola, etc… AMD could have had an ARM Windows8 ready SoC if it wasn’t for Dirk.. 🙁

        Hopefully AMD next CEO got a little more “vision”

        to add: Dirk also alienated ATI mobile division and guess who helped on Apple A5…

          • WillBach
          • 8 years ago

          AMD does have a Windows 8 ready SoC. It’s just not ARM. It’s Bobcat. [url=http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/01/live-from-microsofts-windows-8-preview-event-at-computex-2011<]Engadget - Live from Microsoft's Windows 8 preview event at Computex 2011![/url<] Have you noticed that all of the ARM vendors talk big about how they can beat Atom in efficiency, but that none of them mention Bobcat?

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      They could have hired someone from McDonald’s, but I guess this guy knows how to sell himself, not hamburgers.

      I just hope this guy improves AMD’s position, not make it worse.

    • Jigar
    • 8 years ago

    Not a bad recruit, congrats AMD.

      • phileasfogg
      • 8 years ago

      Good hire by AMD – and here’s hoping Mr Read will help catapult sales of the new server chips. AMD badly needs a fillip in that area – I’m convinced their desktop and notebook market share will hold up just fine and even increase by a few percentage points by this time next year.

      Incidentally, this is the 2nd company whose CEO is named “Read”. Which other S&P500 company recently named Read its CEO? The first correct answer wins the ‘useless CEO trivia’ of the month award 😉

        • tejas84
        • 8 years ago

        you are right philly. AMD server chips is where the money is going to be and hopefully Mr Read will focus on this.

        ARM is coming and it will murder AMD on the low and mid end. AMD need to excel at the high end until Nvidia enter the server arena with ARM.

        • Morpheusman
        • 8 years ago

        Pfizer

          • phileasfogg
          • 8 years ago

          very good- you win Morpheusman! Ian Read was indeed named CEO of Pfizer a few months ago.
          Congratulations!

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Too early to say. AMD is a tougher ship to run

    • eitje
    • 8 years ago

    This would have been big news, Tuesday.

    • shank15217
    • 8 years ago

    Big shoes to fill but I think he will do a good job.

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