Graphics CTO Eric Demers leaves AMD

Add Eric Demers to the list of AMD executives who are no longer with the company. Fresh from speaking with us at an analyst event a couple of weeks ago, the Corporate Vice President and CTO of AMD’s Graphics Division has left the firm to "pursue other opportunities." We first saw the news over at SemiAccurate, and AMD has since confirmed the departure. AMD CTO Mark Papermaster will take over Demers’ duties until a replacement is found.

This is just the latest in a string of high-profile departures from AMD’s executive team. Demers’ exit comes only a few months after Rick Bergman, then head of AMD’s Products Group, left the company. CEO Dirk Meyer was ousted just over a year ago. We haven’t heard if Meyer has landed anywhere since, but Bergman took over the helm at Synaptics shortly after leaving AMD. While Demers’ destination is unclear, PC Perspective claims he won’t end up at Intel or Nvidia.

Demers joined AMD back in 2000 as part of the ArtX acquisition, and he lead the team responsible for the shader core in the then-revolutionary Radeon 9700 graphics processor. The Cornell-educated engineer has been the CTO of AMD’s graphics business since 2009, a period during which Radeons have performed particularly well versus their competition from Nvidia. With that track record, I suspect Demers will pop up in a prominent position before long. It’s hard to see how this departure benefits AMD’s recently articulated long-term plans, in which graphic leadership was to be a "centerpiece."

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    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    This is starting to look like a discrepancy between the upper echelons that control the direction of the company and the core of the company that is comprised of all the actual employees.

    I’m sure if you went to work for a living at a business that produced some of the very best award winning flowers in the industry and all of a sudden they started producing pastries you’d leave too… or maybe you’d stay depending on your love for sweet jelly filled goodness… >>

    • ish718
    • 8 years ago

    Come on, lets see what improvements they made with piledriver
    [i<]*crosses fingers*[/i<]

    • Silus
    • 8 years ago

    When almost everyone + dog leaves a company, you know that company is doing well……

    Now I wait for the thumbs down legion and how they’ll argue that when so many people leave a company, it’s actually a good thing!

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 8 years ago

      It is a good thing… for a board that wants AMD to sell well and needs to get every potential roadblock out of the way for the day when a suitor like Oracle (last year) shows up, wanting their own CPU/chipset biz.

      The old guard spat in the face of the offers last year, so Yahoo-style, AMD is having its management “re-adjusted” to a “better” attitude to line up for a sale. Y’know, just in case.

      The Board can read the writing on the wall. The end times are upon them. Their latest-gen, expensive graphics cards were only a minor improvement over a generation of cards on a much larger fab and released over a year ago. They release Bulldozer to catastrophically bad reviews after years of delays and a refusal to rename the damn thing even when they start over from scratch, Vista-style. If they had at least done that, people would have known that the damn thing wasn’t as long in the oven as they said, but noooo, they just kept right on calling it Bulldozer and when that not-hand-designed chip finally showed up after a year of being built up falsely by an idiot in PR, it farted out right at the starting gate. Oh and it went Chernobyl on the way out.

      So what does AMD do to instill confidence in their products? They fire the CEO, fire the guy in charge of graphics, fire the next guy in charge of graphics, laugh and fire all the PR staff (given their handling of the build-up to Bulldozer, probably deserved), delete all plans for any performance CPU beyond 2012 while talking up APU’s and, “Have It Your Way” menus for APU’s in the future.

      Getting rid of the high end performance segments while building up SOC’s and setting themselves up for building custom APU’s with third party tech/IP, tossing away every executive that probably lined up with Dirk on NOT selling the company as the end game…

      Yeah, AMD’s Board is fattening up Hansel (CPU biz) and Gretel (GPU biz) with lots and lots of candy (SOC’s). But the Oven’s waiting eagerly…

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    How cool! E.Demers is a “3rd Degree Contact” of mine on LinkedIn!

    I have no idea how that happened..

    • juampa_valve_rde
    • 8 years ago

    Quote from Wikipedia:

    … “people first, products and profit will follow!” This was given as a printout for each AMD worker who started a job at AMD in Dresden/Germany until Jerry Sanders retirement. …

    So i guess that under Mr. Read command we will keep seeing a mirrored logic, “profit first, products and people will follow!”

    • Mat3
    • 8 years ago

    Terrible news. Put a fork in AMD, they’re done.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      And when Intel slows down R&D and charges a grand for a Celeron, so are we.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve stuck with AMD for many years, and have used far more AMD chips than any other brand, but I got myself a Core i5 Lenovo laptop yesterday. My interest in Bulldozer has also slowly eroded since its release. For me, AMD isn’t a company to be proud of anymore, providing great alternatives to Intel. They’re really bleeding themselves to death. Sad, but it’s the image they’re projecting.

      • Visigoth
      • 8 years ago

      Thank you for realizing what most of us have been saying all along. Better late than never, I guess.

      Enjoy your new laptop!

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        II’m trying to hold my ground, but I guess the current is too strong.

    • Forge
    • 8 years ago

    Seeing ArtX makes me think back to all the “product” they showed off…. Product which, AFAICT, never actually made it to retail. Perhaps not an auspicious start, but good things were done under him later.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      It did actually. I have some of their DSPs lying around and have talked to some of their former engineers. Some were in ATI’s x86 group (yep they were going to launch one too at one point). Win 95 and 98 only, and PCI based.

      In fact it was more of a reverse take over.

    • My Johnson
    • 8 years ago

    He’s going to a graphics company focused on mobile devices is my best guess.

      • k00k
      • 8 years ago

      Although you have to wonder whether his non-compete includes companies that do ARM SoCs. His talent and experience will look attractive to outfits like Qualcomm, Imagination, Texas Instruments, or even ARM itself.

      If Demers ends up in Qualcomm working on Adreno designs, that’ll be the day 😀

        • Palek
        • 8 years ago

        Apparently almost the entire Adreno team has left Qualcomm to start two separate businesses: [url=http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/medfield-krait-smartphone-mobile-soc,3117-9.html<]SIRU Innovations Oy and Vire Labs[/url<]. I never thought I'd learn something really interesting from Tom's, but it was cool to find out about the history of the Adreno team. I was aware that they were the Imageon team that got sold off to Qualcomm by AMD soon after the ATi acquisition, but I did not know that the Imageon team were the infamous (?) BitBoys guys, who started their careers in graphics as members of the Future Crew demo group. That is a pretty interesting history.

          • destroy.all.monsters
          • 8 years ago

          Thanks to this thread I just found out that Qualcomm has licensed IP cores from Imagination Tech which is something I find interesting.

          [url<]https://eetimes.com/electronics-news/4233204/Qualcomm-becomes-Imagination-Technologies-licensee-[/url<] Thanks for this update - much appreciated.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        Non-competes have been nullified by courts before, depends on the state but I know some states either don’t allow them or nullify them because it takes away a person’s reasonable ability to earn a living.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        One has to wonder how dedicated they are to Adreno after nearly all the talent has left and that they’re now Imagination Tech licensees.

        I’ve said for years that AMD should be buying stock in IT.

    • shank15217
    • 8 years ago

    These comments are rediculous, Demeter didn’t single handedly design and fabricate the gpus. His main contributions include an aggressive product launch schedule with a focus on building features into gpu in a slow but steady pace. I think AMD gfx will move forward without him, they just have to stay on the path he set for them. Good leadership often means a strong team that can create more leaders from within the ranks.

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      Another problem is patents. AMD and Nvidia hold most of the IP you would need to make a high performance graphics chip, and they’re hardly going to license it competitively.

      edit: this was supposed to be in reply to “how long until we have a 3rd graphics card company”

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        Well, I replied to the corect post with the same sentiment :p before reading your post.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    AMD seems to be loosing allot of senior management just as the company was gaining momentum. Ironically enough after the firing/exodus began we got bulldozer…hmmm

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      It’s the board. They fired Dirk for an unknown reason (Semiaccurate claim they know it and won’t tell) and so anyone he approved for a position has to go as well.

      One way you could look at it is that Dirk wanted to compete with Intel at all costs due to his career ever since the DEC Alpha, but the board believed would have bankrupted AMD soon (because they were never going to catch up in single core performance on 1/10 of the R&D budget, and because GF were inevitably going to fall even further behind than the usual year in process tech)

      The new CEO is talking up indirect competition: moving into areas Intel doesn’t care about and winning there, like Bobcat or SoCs.

        • k00k
        • 8 years ago

        Hehe. We replied at the same time, and your comment confirms mine! :high five:

        • Silus
        • 8 years ago

        LOL Intel doesn’t care about SoCs…

        You really need to stop drinking Charlie’s kool-aid…

      • k00k
      • 8 years ago

      That’s a red herring. Since Meyer had to be let go, surely his senior staff were likely to follow. Bergman, Demers, along with dozens more. It’s Read and Papermaster’s game now. We’ll just have to see where this takes us, and who will be taking up the leadership cudgels for their cause/vision for the company.

      Jerry Sanders, and by association, AMD as an enterprise, was never about competing directly with Intel. They lost sight of this last decade, during Hector Ruiz’s time, perhaps due to the superiority of the K8 at that time. They got bold and tried to compete with Intel on a more even footing, but lost since Intel had the manufacturing and marketing chops they didn’t have.

      Historically, AMD always competed asymmetrically with Intel, even during AMD’s early days. If anything, the Athlon64 era was a fluke brought about by a superior product at the right time. Bulldozer puts AMD at a position where it has historically been–the lesser competitor that comes out with products that takes advantage of Intel’s pricing or gaps in its product line. Undercut Intel’s pricing and there will always be people buying AMD. Present compelling value (e.g. Brazos) over the competition (Atom) and people will buy.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      Loosing allot? Seriously?

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        I kind of want to upthumb you on that, but that goes against my beliefs.

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        The metaphorical “shoe laces” of AMD are loose and Rory is tightening them? Yeah i think that’s what he meant, you grammar nazi, you.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      How’s life in the bizarro universe where AMD was gaining momentum?

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        Pretty graphical, if you catch my drift.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          You mean ‘pretty hot and slow’?

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]the Corporate Vice President and CTO of AMD's Graphics Division has left the firm [/quote<] Obviously you're not getting it...

        • clone
        • 8 years ago

        I noticed that part as well….. really gaining momentum?

        graphics side doing well, cpu side, quite badly.

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 8 years ago

    Papermaster for paper launches! 🙂

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      and pink slips!

    • geekl33tgamer
    • 8 years ago

    Do have to wonder what’s going on at AMD, as graphics are their strong point at the moment…?

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Not financially! While they may not have a shortage of crazy high-power GPU designs, those are a niche even amongst the niche of desktops, and a very expensive investment that has not exactly had the best return for them. They need to get on the ball to break into the HPC market, or they’re just burning money.

      I’m not sure I even want to give the graphics the credit for their success with Fusion CPUs in laptops. That seems more about price – and Intel’s shunning of anything they could sell to compete with Bobcat that might drop their average sale price below $100.

        • geekl33tgamer
        • 8 years ago

        IMO, I thought strong sales of Radeon hardware were propping up the losses from the CPU division of the business???

          • beck2448
          • 8 years ago

          Nvidia has 4x the revenue and 5x the profits of AMD’s graphics division.

      • Visigoth
      • 8 years ago

      AT THE MOMENT…that is the key! This fellow realizes this, and he knows something we don’t know. An educated guess is that he knows Kepler will slaughter AMD’s graphics division (I’m sorry to say this, but that’s just how it is). so he’s jumping out while he still can.

      As if that wasn’t bad enough, Intel is wrecking AMD on their CPU/chipset platforms as well, so they are effectively fighting a major war on 2 fronts. No sane company can sustain this for long, you can only take so much before going deep in red ink.

        • Squeazle
        • 8 years ago

        All major companies sustain this “war,” for as long as they survive, unless they’re a monopoly. That’s the whole point of capitalism. Demand drives products, competitors then try to out do each other and so progress is made.

        Also saying that you have an educated guess is stretching it a bit after that uninformed rant.

          • squeeb
          • 8 years ago

          I like your name.

          • Visigoth
          • 8 years ago

          Ok. I’m bookmarking this thread once Kepler arrives and pounds AMD’s Radeon into the ground. I’m also going to wait to see how Ivy Bridge destroys AMD’s Bulldozer. Then I’m going to see what you have to say then.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]We first saw the news over at SemiAccurate, and AMD has since confirmed the departure.[/quote<] You lie! Semi Accurate is never accurate! I can't believe this site sinks so low as to even metion its name! [spoiler<]sarcasm[/spoiler<]

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    A few vultures have been circling AMD for the fast few years picking at the still moving ‘corpse’:
    Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, to name a few.
    So I’m sure Eric got plenty of juicy offers in the past few month, and probably got a juicy one that he couldn’t refuse.

    So It seem at AMD, if you are lame you get fire (eventually), if you are good you get a promotion at a competitor.

    If so, AMD will be taking risk hiring new blood.
    And for the few that prove themselves, they will move to infinity loop or some other golden road with a massive raise.
    AMD will be left firing the one that dind’t work out, and pay the price for it.

    Kind of start to fell sorry for the red team 🙁

      • cegras
      • 8 years ago

      You feel sorry for AMD? Do intel and nvidia make you happy?

      Namely, do you have feelings for companies?

        • Arclight
        • 8 years ago

        If you’re passionate enough for tech stuff as an enthusiast i believe a guy can have slight feelings towards a company or another. Otherwise how could you make a decision of what to buy when one product made by 2 or more brands cost and perform about the same? When choosing between 2 of the same thing logic stops applying and you go for that gutt feeling. Intense feelings are out of the question ofc, they are companies after all, but you do get, at least i do, a slight feeling towards a brand or another. Be it caused by advertisement, reviews, other people’s experience….

        Edt: by feelings i don’t mean love, i mean admiration, respect. As an example i think Seasonic is a very good brand, they make quality products and i feel pride in owning one of their PSU. I personally favor this brand in spite of others.

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    AMD decided to re-enact the St. Valentine’s day massacre with its own executives.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 8 years ago

    How long till we have a 3rd graphics camp burst on the scene ?

      • Farting Bob
      • 8 years ago

      Intel considered it, but they insisted on using x86 which is great for desktop CPU’s but will never be as good at GPU work as NV/AMD do. They have enough chip designers, software folk and manufacturing advantage to force their way into the market, but they know it would cost more than they would make out of it to really dive in. They would be better off letting either AMD or Nividia use their manufacturing process to make their own chips, but Intel is notoriously cautious about letting other companies use their magic. AMD GPU’s produced on Intel’s latest tech would kick major ass, but i dont think we’ll ever see it happen.

      No other company i can think of would want to invest the billions it would take to really compete in what is a stagnant market. The growth in GPU tech these days is coming from intergrated solutions to phones and tablets, not discrete GPU’s for desktops and laptops.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Well there is S3….

      …oh ya they were bought out by Via and AMD seems to be following their gameplan now….

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      A long time. Too much is tied up in patents and IP for a real new company to burst on the scene, and it would even be tough and probably not worthwhile for established companies who have a valuable cross-license portfolio to do so.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        I imagine it will be as simple as Blatantly breaking those patents, creating a superior product, then being re-bought-out by the company instead of the lawsuits. That’s happened before right ?

          • cygnus1
          • 8 years ago

          you just have to do something new enough to justify one or two key patents that would prevent the incumbents from duplicating it. then get bought out or cross license so they just make their own and you profit indefinitely.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      That depends on whether you’re talking on the desktop or what exactly. I’ve read rumors that Imagination Tech is going to be putting a desktop chip out though I can’t find the linkage right now, the BitBoys guys formed a couple new companies although it’s doubtful either will put out a desktop bound chip.

      I think it’s a safe bet that the once great Matrox won’t be back. Further to get into this market you have to have a ton of money.

    • spigzone
    • 8 years ago

    Good luck Rory Read.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe he’s regretting leaving Lenovo now.

        • Palek
        • 8 years ago

        On the other hand, if he does actually manage to turn the company around he will go down in history as one of the greatest tech CEOs of the early 21st century.

        Maybe the guy likes a challenge?

          • ronch
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]Maybe the guy likes a challenge?[/quote<] He obviously does. But with AMD, he needs not just boatloads of guts and skill, but boatloads of luck.

    • maxxcool
    • 8 years ago

    and how long until he finds home with a arm vendor helping to design fusion cores for them?

      • spigzone
      • 8 years ago

      Or Intel.

        • wierdo
        • 8 years ago

        Hardocp says he’s not going to Intel or nVidia:

        [url<]http://hardocp.com/news/2012/02/14/amd_cto_changes[/url<]

          • swaaye
          • 8 years ago

          PowerVR. 😉

            • maxxcool
            • 8 years ago

            mmmm i’d +1 that move….

          • mmp121
          • 8 years ago

          Hello Matrox?!

            • clone
            • 8 years ago

            lol, sure and he could work for stock options.

            if someone realizes what I just mentioned… yes I know.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Either he goes to Intel, Nvidia, or some small startup looking to hire big talent with a golden parachute offer.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    first! and amd is dead!

      • Dashak
      • 8 years ago

      Even for you, that was too obvious. But I lol’d.

      • Grigory
      • 8 years ago

      If it were so, would you be overjoyed at the exorbitant prices we would have to pay for CPUs? Would you have a hardon while forking over a grand for your next CPU?

        • Ringofett
        • 8 years ago

        I still gotta reckon someone with deep pockets would buy up AMD.. maybe the Arab state that already owns a chunk. Take the company private, make some long-term investments, bring in fresh management.

        China’s also trying to come up with a home-brew CPU, but not sure how well that’s going.

        If AMD died in its current form I’m pretty sure it’d be reborn under new management & ownership is all. Too big of a market to cede entirely to a single monopolist.

      • Arclight
      • 8 years ago

      Congratz on your “1st”. I’m certain future generation will remember this glorious day in which you prevailed.

      • yogibbear
      • 8 years ago

      And your balls just rose up a little bit higher into your stomach.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        just adding another notch in the “first” championship belt. as for my balls, i’m married. they’re gone. AND i happen to like amd, so i’m actually saddened by all this craziness.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      what’s funny is that at ~1pm on tuesday he was +4.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Well, he’s right so he deserves upthumbs. But unemployed AMD trolls wake up at 2pm, so…

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Congratz on hitting the -25 mark!!

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        thanks! it’s alway nice to be noticed! As you well know!

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]it's alway nice to be noticed![/quote<] Mostly just for attention whores like you and I

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