AMD Taps Rory Read, Former Lenovo President, for Top Spot
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) said that Rory Read, a 28-year industry veteran, will take the reins as the company's new chief executive, replacing Dirk Meyer, who resigned in early January amid disagreement with the vendor's board of directors over future strategy and direction, particularly in the mobile market.
AMD has been looking for a new top executive who could do better at getting the company's chips into tablets, possess a wider vision and carve a larger portion from rival Intel's dominant market share, reportedly dangling the job in front of a few high profile names in the process.
While not a household name, Read appears to command sufficient background for the job, most recently serving a five-year stint as PC-maker Lenovo Group Ltd.'s president and chief operating officer. His resume also sports a 23-year career at IBM Corp. in a number of management positions, including Managing Partner for Business Consulting Services Industrial Sector.
Read is credited with shepherding Lenovo's market share gains and revenue growth while reversing its operating losses and boosting profits, and navigating the PC-maker's entry into the tablet and smartphone markets.
He will have to stare down some of AMD's more formidable challenges, not the least of which will be to carve out a noticeable position in the mobile market with its Fusion chips. Still, his Lenovo experience likely will help to shore up the company's share of the global microprocessor segment, which, according to International Data Corp.'s (IDC) newly released Q2 2011 figures, stands at about 20.4 percent, a sequential gain of 1.5 percent but far behind Intel's 79 percent stake.
IDC's Q2 data, based on worldwide unit shipments, shows that AMD gained share in the mobile PC processor and desktop PC segments but slid in PC servers. For mobile, AMD maintains a 15.2 percent share, a gain of 1.8 percent over Q1, for desktops its portion stands at 28.9 percent, a 1.5 percent increase, while for PC servers its share slipped .6 percent to a 5.5 percent.
Read said on a financial analyst and media call that initially he will tend to examining AMD's markets, opportunities, customers and relationships, seeking out new opportunities in the cloud and data center infrastructure.
"AMD is a true innovator and is uniquely positioned to lead the industry forward, delivering the next big thing both within the PC ecosystem and beyond," he said in a statement. "AMD has strong momentum and the opportunity to continue profitably gaining share based on its highly differentiated products, solid financial foundation, and passionate and committed employees."
Bruce Claflin, AMD chairman, said that "Rory is a proven leader with an impressive record of driving profitable growth." Claflin said that Read's "sound strategic thinking and natural customer orientation will help amplify the voice of the customer inside AMD."
Yuanqing Yang, Lenovo chief executive, said that Read has "made a significant contribution to our success during his time as president and COO at Lenovo and played a "key role in our record-setting growth and our consistent performance."
According to an 8-K SEC filing dated August 25, 2011, AMD will pay Read an initial base salary of $1 million, reviewable annually. Documents show that he will be eligible for a bonus of 150 percent of his salary by the end of this year and again in 2012. Read also gained a $1 million signing bonus, half of which he must repay should he not last two years on the job.
In the SEC filing, AMD also disclosed that Lenovo is one of the chip maker's larger customers, accounting for some $450 million in sales during FY 2010.
AMD said that Thomas Seifert, who served as interim chief executive since January, will return to his role as senior vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). Claflin, who was named executive chairman of the board when he led AMD's search for a new chief executive, will returns to his role as AMD's chairman, the company said.