AMD brings in Mark Papermaster as CTO

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.

Comments closed
    • SecretMaster
    • 8 years ago

    PaperMaster? Son of a…

    • Tristan
    • 8 years ago

    Paper master, hmmm …
    New slides ahead or paper launches ? 🙂

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      “Extra, extra, read all about it! AMD flubs another processor release”

    • ltcommander.data
    • 8 years ago

    I’d like to see what type of reception he’ll get the next time he meets Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s executive team to demo and negotiate the next AMD GPU contract.

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      Will there be a next meeting ?

      Apple seem to have snatched ATI best designers and have announced their own GPU breakthrough design recently.
      Apple have their own driver team, so its a small step for them to start to replace all GPU with Apple new design that is optimized for OpenGL / OpenCL

    • mark625
    • 8 years ago

    This guy sounds just like what AMD needs, someone who really knows CPU speeds and feeds inside and out. The BD designers really fell on their face with the poor L2 cache speed and memory latency.

    The IBM Power uarch is also a “speed demon”, like BD, and is optimized for high frequency operation. Power also has multi-threading, so maybe this guy can get AMD on board with multi-threading on top of the BD multi-dual-semi-core-module design. How hard could it be? 🙂

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    wow, a master of paper…havent seen one of those in like, ever! i wonder how much toilet paper can he master once AMD gets rid of him and hands him a multimillion dollar payout?

    • Triple Zero
    • 8 years ago

    Why does AMD find it necessary to provide the age of the two named executives? Is it normal for corporate America to throw in the age of their executives in press releases?

      • ludi
      • 8 years ago

      It’s not that unusual. In spite of the movies, things generally turn out badly if the Keys to the Kingdom are handed to some young dude or dudette, and most corporate positions that contain the word “chief” in the title are rarely accessed by anyone who isn’t at least in their mid-40s.

      Experience counts for something, and age is an easy “signal” to wave at the shareholders when writing up a press release.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Next time, they may even state the person’s weight and waistline.

    • just brew it!
    • 8 years ago

    Well, at least this sounds like a company that is serious about trying to fix things. You don’t hire someone with that kind of experience if you’re planning to just roll over and die.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]roll over and die.[/quote<] That's what Leo Apotheker and Meg Whitman are for.

        • Geistbar
        • 8 years ago

        Come now, HP has a far larger collection of people to assist with rolling over and dying than just the two of them. Give credit where credit is due (e.g. Fiorna, for making them realize how much they wanted to die).

    • Ryhadar
    • 8 years ago

    I’m sad that the team that brought the original Athlon to fruition probably doesn’t even work at AMD anymore. On the other hand, it looks like AMD is committed to bringing on folks with serious experience in the industry — in turn bringing in new ideas for the company.

    It gives me hope that we haven’t seen the last of an aggressive, competitive AMD.

      • ermo
      • 8 years ago

      If this guy really is as good as the article hints at, and if he’s got extensive experience working within IBM, what are the chances that AMD and IBM will cozy up down the line?

      And I’m still wondering why Dirk was sacked…

        • k00k
        • 8 years ago

        Chances of AMD and IBM cozying up more? There’s a good chance.

        I’m not entirely sure about this, but the next couple of process downshrinks (28 and 22nm) at AMD and GloFo had received research assistance from IBM as early as 2005, and received re-commitments in 2008/2009. In fact, GloFo and Chartered (now another GloFo fab/production facility) are in IBM’s Technology Alliance: [url<]http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/27222.wss[/url<] The current 32nm process issues are probably birthing pains, similar to what we've seen during the initial ramp up of AMD's previous process transitions. AMD does not seem to have a good record of manufacturing initial batches of new, leading-edge processes well. As for Dirk, the guy was sacked because he made some good and bad business and engineering decisions. If we are to believe Charlie Demerjian at Semiaccurate, Dirk pulled the plug not just on AMD's mobile video and consumer electronics efforts, but also on the 45nm iteration of Bulldozer. This delay may have also prompted him to order the alleged increase in the use of automated design tools to speed up Bulldozer's time to market, a decision that may have ultimately caused Zambezi in its current form to underdeliver and underwhelm. Combine that with the rumors that are swirling about mismanagement and bad decisions at AMD from supposedly former AMDers, and you get a pretty good picture of what may have happened. See more here: [url<]http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1037482638&postcount=88[/url<] If we are to believe those, a lot of talented people were actually ill-affected by Dirk's decisions. He may have been better off being let go if we are to judge him through these. Of course, all these are one-sided, coming from supposed former AMD insiders, and who knows if Dirk made his decisions at the behest of the board itself...We'll never know completely, I guess.

          • just brew it!
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah, they’re *already* fairly cozy, at least on the fabrication side of things. AFAIK AMD was the first major user (outside of IBM themselves) of IBM’s SOI technology, so the relationship goes back to the birth of the Athlon 64 nearly a decade ago.

          [b<]Edit[/b<]: There were also rumors about a year ago that GlobalFoundries was looking at the possibility of acquiring IBM's fabs. It kind of makes sense for IBM to spin off its fabs since they have been moving out of manufacturing (e.g. the spinoff of their PC and hard drive businesses over the past decade), and are really more of a services company these days.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    What kind of name is Papermaster?…

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      A surname from relatives, probably early American or English, likely worked in paper presses…

        • bwcbiz
        • 8 years ago

        Or else they were bureaucrats.

      • Ryhadar
      • 8 years ago

      Clearly, he is the Magneto of paper.

        • Kraft75
        • 8 years ago

        He’s immune to paper-cuts

      • TheEmrys
      • 8 years ago

      Not as cool as Hammermeister, that’s for sure.

        • Meadows
        • 8 years ago

        Or Dudemeister, from [i<]Scrubs[/i<].

          • Ryhadar
          • 8 years ago

          Keith: “How come I don’t get a cool nickname?”

          JD: “Your last name is Dudemeister, Keith. What am I supposed to do with that?”

          (paraphrasing)

            • 5150
            • 8 years ago

            Sarah Chalke! OMG!

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      He’s master of paper launches.

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        Burn!

      • A_Pickle
      • 8 years ago

      Great name for a leader in tech.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      Better than Masterpaper….

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      I hear the rest of the board is going to be filled out with the Zul the Gatekeeper, Vinz Clortho the Keymaster and Gozer.

      • Palek
      • 8 years ago

      I hope he’s really as good as he sounds on paper.

      Ba-dum-pshhh.

        • Buzzard44
        • 8 years ago

        I logged in just to give you a thumbs up.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Better than Puppetmaster.

    • Goty
    • 8 years ago

    AMD missed a big opportunity by not hiring this guy as CFO instead. Seriously, how could you skip the chance to have a CFO named [b<]Papermaster[/b<]?

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Should come in handy for all those mass layoff notices that are looming.

    • TheEmrys
    • 8 years ago

    Is it bad that my first thought was “Papermaster for a tech company? Oh, AMD? Carry on”?

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    Good move. But who is he replacing? Or did they establish a CTO position just for him?

      • tejas84
      • 8 years ago

      He is replacing Rick Bergman who left to become CEO of Synaptics

        • Klanky
        • 8 years ago

        The guy who ruined Star Trek? Wow.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          [url<]https://techreport.com/discussions.x/21697?post=582874[/url<]

            • Klanky
            • 8 years ago

            Hmm are you posting that because you didn’t realize I was joking, or are you trying to tell me the joke has already been made?

            • FuturePastNow
            • 8 years ago

            I think it’s a good enough joke to make again 😉

        • faramir
        • 8 years ago

        That’s Bermaga. Both of them.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This