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AMD Names Caldwell New Board Chairman

The move comes as the chip maker restructures its business to take advantage of growth opportunities in such markets as graphics and gaming.

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Advanced Micro Devices has a new board chairman as the chip maker continues to push its turnaround efforts.

John Caldwell, who has been on AMD's board of directors since 2006, this week was named chairman. He is replacing Bruce Claflin, who had been chairman since 2009. Claflin will remain on the board.

Caldwell was CEO of three companies during his career, including SMTC, an electronics manufacturing services company, until his retirement in 2011. He becomes AMD's chairman at a time of greater change for the vendor.

Under President and CEO Lisa Su, AMD has pursued a transformation plan that includes the company's focusing on such areas as the data center, premium PCs, immersive computing, gaming, graphics technologies and semi-custom chips. The company also this month closed a deal with China's Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics to create a joint venture that will manufacture and test chips in several factories in the country. Nantong Fujitsu will own about 85 percent of the business, and AMD is receiving about $371 million in payment from the Chinese company. About 1,700 AMD employees will transfer to the new company.

The move was seen as a way to ease AMD's financial pressures and help the company as it pushes its 14-nanometer ambitions with such products as the Polaris GPU architecture and Zen processor design.

In addition, AMD last month announced another joint venture in China, this one with Tianjin Hiaguang Advanced Technology Investment. The new company will produce chips in China using AMD's IP, and AMD will license its x86 technology to the new joint venture, which will use it to build server chips to be sold only in China. AMD officials said the chip maker will receive an immediate $293 million in licensing fees plus royalties on sales of any processors developed by the venture.

"It is an exciting time to be part of AMD as we execute on our transformative strategy—bringing innovative products to market and delivering increased value to our shareholders," Caldwell said in a statement.

In the first quarter, AMD announced $832 million in revenue, a drop from the $1.03 billion from the same period in 2015, and a net loss of $109 million, an improvement over the $180 million the company lost in the first quarter last year.