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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  • Frenetic Pony - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    And that's probably why she was *Cough* let go.
  • meacupla - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    All they really need to do is release an A10 with more CPU (needs to be faster than i3) and GPU (better than R7 260X) at its current 95W TDP, or a mobile APU that can wipe the floor of an i5 with HD5100 in both CPU and GPU with less than 40W TDP and release them before 2016.

    Or, yet another alternative, an APU that cuts down GPU power for more CPU power and can keep up with an i5U in performance and thermals.

    But, honestly, not keeping any hopes.
  • testbug00 - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    why cut down GPU power? Given bandwidth is not an issue, you are FAR more GPU limited than CPU limited in games.

    In the desktop APUs, the GPU is still the bottleneck. Even with the fastest current DDR3 RAM and overclocking.

    on laptops, with less bandwidth, that is even more true. CPU performance is fast enough for general usage.

    What AMD really needs to do is either go GDDR5, 2 channel high clocked DDR4, or quad channel LPDDR3. Make a 45-60W APU, give it any of those options, instally win every single person who wants to game without spending a fortune. __GIVEN OEMs actually use the damn chip. Brazos was in 17" computers *eye twitch*

    If you're buying a laptop with an APU primarily for heavy CPU light GPU tasks, you're not being a smart consumer. (Given there are not personal reasons against Intel, I refuse to buy Intel except where impossible to avoid (IE 13-14" laptops with strong dGPU and 1080p+ displays) because of how badly they screwed AMD during the Athlon days)
  • meacupla - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    I figure that the main problem AMD has is keeping power consumption and thermal output low, so cutting down on the GPU should help alleviate some of that issue, so that the CPU can get more overhead.
    GDDR5 is also a good move, as evidenced by PS4 vs XB1.

    The issues with current APUs is that they are terrible at everything. Low GPU, low CPU, high power and high thermals, which translates to just plain bad when thrown up against i5+GTXm.
    The APU either needs to do CPU extremely well, or do CPU and GPU extremely well, if it has any hopes of being a decent product.
  • OrphanageExplosion - Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - link

    The problem with meaty GPUs in an APU is that memory bandwidth from DDR3 and even current DDR4 isn't really enough to service all those compute units. Hence full GDDR5 in PS4 and a big (expensive) slab of fast memory in the Xbox One APU.

    There's always been a weird disconnect between AMD's current budget-focused APUs and the fact that you need premium DDR3 to run them at their best.
  • harobikes333 - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    While change is always a bit unnerving, AMD must change up their management if they want to make it until they release their new cores in 2016. Their staff must be doing something right though as they have captured quite a few semi-custom contracts. Disclosure, I'm long AMD.
  • CajunArson - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    So apparently they fired Byrne after he told them that all their processors ARE CRAP!!!

    (since AMD doesn't fab any chips in Scotland, and therefore... NOT SCOTTISH!)
  • HisDivineOrder - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    When you think a ship is sinking, you always go the same direction as the rats. I fear this is only the beginning of the end. That's probably why Rory Reed is sailing away on his private (golden) yacht, waving at Su with two thumbs up and the biggest grin.

    He needs to get a safe distance before AMD implodes before the end results of a "job well done" are fully evident. He needs to get his next "job" lined up in advance.

    We're all the ones to suffer for it. The enthusiast PC and PC gaming scenes are going to be the ones that have two power players without any counterbalance to keep them honest.
  • testbug00 - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    AMD isn't imploding. If they didn't have Semi-custom design wins now, they probably would be.
  • Malih - Monday, January 12, 2015 - link

    Too many shakeups at AMD, while I believe Rory Read fixed the leak, as an AMD fan, I hope this will be the wind they need to sail faster.

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