Word comes via email and an 8-K filing from AMD this afternoon that AMD’s executive lineup is undergoing a significant shakeup today. All told, 3 AMD executives are leaving the company today: GM of Computing and Graphics Business Group, John Byrne; Chief Marketing Officer, Colette LaForce; and Chief Strategy Officer, Raj Naik. This comes on the heels of an already busy 2014 for AMD’s executive ranks, which saw a business unit reorganization and the promotion of Dr. Lisa Su to COO and then CEO.

Starting from the top then, the highest profile departure – and the only one mentioned in AMD’s 8-K – is John Byrne. Byrne was promoted from Chief Sales Officer to SVP and GM of Computing and Graphics Business Group only 7 months ago, so his tenure as GM has been a surprisingly short one. Byrne is said to be leaving AMD to pursue other opportunities, and unlike Byrne’s original promotion that saw the GM position filled from within, AMD tells us that they will be conducting an external search for the new GM. In the meantime Dr. Su will be filling his position as interim GM.

Second on the list of departing executives is Colette LaForce. Colette has been AMD’s Chief Marketing Officer since 2012, when she joined AMD at that level after leaving as Dell’s CMO. Like Byrne, LaForce is said to be leaving the company, though AMD has offered no further details. Finally, unlike Byrne’s GM position, no interim CMO is being announced.

The last executive departing today is Rajan Naik, AMD’s Chief Strategy Officer. Naik was hired for the CSO position in 2012, joining the company from McKinsey & Company. Like Byrne and LaForce, Naik is said to be leaving the company with no further details available.

In announcing these departures, AMD included a short statement: “These changes, including the additions of Forrest Norrod and James Clifford to our management team last quarter, collectively are part of implementing an optimal organization design and leadership team to further sharpen our execution and position AMD for growth.“

Whether this is Lisa Su merely cleaning house after being promoted to CEO or part of a greater shakeup for the company remains to be seen, and certainly this is the biggest question to come from today’s departures given the unusual mass departure. 2014 has been another rough year for AMD as they continue to seek balance as a semi-custom IP and chip designer, and while they did manage to turn a tiny profit in Q3, we’re still waiting to see how AMD closed out the year with Q4. To that end, AMD will be announcing their Q4 results on Tuesday the 20th, at which point we should have a better idea of what these departures mean for the company and what AMD’s plans are like for the rest of 2015.

Source: AMD



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  • mrdude - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    Last time there was a shakeup in AMD management, they announced their rather poor Q3 earnings and their abysmal Q4 forecast. Maybe we're looking at a worse-than-originally-thought Q4 and an even worse Q1?

    Wouldn't at all surprise me. Their current product lineup is awful.
  • Mondozai - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    Not their GPUs. 290 was released 1.5 years ago and is going head to head with 970, even if both are supposed to be mid-range cards(upper mid-range in 290s case9.

    AMD is falling behind because there are too many suits in the exec suite. This will clear that out.
  • mrdude - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    Sales figures and guidance paint a different picture. They explicitly stated that their GPU sales were very weak last conference call.

    The 290 is certainly more competitive when pitted against Maxwell than their CPUs are against Intel's product lineup, but they're still second fiddle.
  • hpglow - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    What is the shakeup here? These companies are all full of worthless tools at the top. Intel could cut 4x this amount of execs. and no one would notice. Lisa is just doing what most of these companies should have done years ago. 1. quit polishing turds... flush them. 2. Get rid of useless people that are paid too much. Reply
  • Mondozai - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    If you were so brilliant you would be running one of these companies instead of writing comments on a website. Reply
  • RafaelHerschel - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    You seem to imply that people who run (large) companies don’t post on websites. You also seem to imply that people who run companies are ‘brilliant’.

    Very few managers with an MBA or similar qualification are brilliant, most are specialized in self-promotion. Hence the reason that shedding some of the presumably lightweight managers within AMD is greeted with cautious approval.
  • The_Assimilator - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    Rats, ship, sinking. Reply
  • YazX_ - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    the way i see it is they got fired since they didnt add any value to the company in addition to cutting cost, good move in the right direction. Reply
  • TristanSDX - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    Golden parachutes ?
    Few days ago, Su claimed that they will release exciting (as usual) graphics and gain market share from NV. And now GM is leaving. Messy company.
  • chizow - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    Got worried for a second, but as long as Mark Papermaster didn't leave, their future roadmap production is secure. Reply

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