Chipmaker AMD names Lisa Su its new CEO


Perennial underdog chip company AMD has appointed Lisa Su at its president and CEO, making Su the first woman to take the role at the company. Su replaces Rory Read who has stepped down as president, chief executive officer and member of the board of directors as part of a transition plan. Read will stay on in an advisory role with the company through the end of the year.

Su was most recently the chief operating officer at AMD and has been at the company since 2012, when she came over from Freescale. She has always struck me as a technically astute engineer, and I’ve heard form sources and friends at AMD that she is a good manager. She is not showy, but perhaps that era of chip executive is past its prime.

Patrick Moorhead, of Moor Insights and Strategy, an analyst firm and former AMD executive seems to agree that an engineering-minded CEO isn’t a bad thing for AMD. In an email offering his thoughts on the transition he wrote:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]Rory Read did a good job stabilizing AMD at a time when the bottom fell out of the PC market and also set the stage for a more embedded-focused AMD. Big growth was elusive, though, as the markets focused on mobile solutions and high-end datacenter. Lisa Su is respected in the industry and inside the industry. She is very product-centric which I think is important for AMD and it also reflects many semiconductor CEOs out there today.

However, Su has a tough road ahead of her as AMD struggles to make up for the fact that it utterly missed out on the mobile revolution, focusing instead on more powerful PC and graphics processors. It has since branched out with an ARM license and plans to double down on a custom silicon business that is designing chips for big name clients such as Sony.

Of interest to me as an Austinite is whether Su, who lives in Austin and has for a long time, will move to AMD’s Sunnyvale, California headquarters or will stay in Texas. Hector Ruiz, another Austin dweller and former AMD CEO, split his time between both cities. AMD’s spokesman confirmed that Su lives in Austin, but didn’t offer any insights if Su would move, if AMD would move, or if Su would just pull a Hector and take the nerd bird.

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