AMD Restructures Business Units, Names Su COO

Company executives are reorganizing the chip maker into two business units and promoting two executives.


Since joining Advanced Micro Devices in 2012 as part of a new management team under new CEO Rory Read, Lisa Su has been among the highest profile executives at the chip vendor, leading its product strategy and business plans and taking the stage at most of the company's events.

In its latest restructuring, Su—who had been senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Global Business Units—will now be the company's chief operating officer, giving her greater authority over the company's direction.

Su's appointment was announced June 12, along with another executive shift and the reorganization of the chip vendor's business units in an effort to make the company more efficient and responsive to market changes.

The moves are part of a larger effort to remake AMD that was begun after Read took the reins in 2011 following a time as president and chief operating officer at Lenovo and, previous to that, more than two decades at IBM.

"Today's announcement represents the next step in our long-term strategic plan to help ensure AMD's operating structure and culture are better aligned to drive consistent growth and profitability by leveraging our leadership IP to create differentiated products that help our customers win across a diversified set of high-growth markets," Read said in a statement.

Talking about Su, Read said that the former Freescale and IBM executive "has been a driving force in AMD's recent success, and as COO, she will expand on this foundation and lead a broader organization designed to more quickly adapt to industry shifts, streamline execution and decision making, and create even greater value for our customers."

Among the other changes, the company is combining its client, consumer graphics and professional graphics businesses into the Computing and Graphics Business Group, which will be overseen by John Byrne, who is moving from chief sales officer to senior vice president and general manager of the business unit and who will report to Su.

In addition, AMD's server, embedded, dense server and semi-custom businesses will be folded into the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom Business Group. Su will be the unit's acting lead, according to the company.

During his tenure, Read has overseen a reshaping of AMD in an effort to gain more solid financial footing. The company has focused on several growth areas—including embedded systems, dense servers, ultraportable systems and graphics—as it reduces its reliance on the slowing global PC market. At the same time, AMD last year scored significant victories when its chips were chosen to power the latest versions of Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation game consoles, which helped it return to profitability last year for the first time in three years.

The company also has embraced the ARM architecture, with plans to offer ARM-based server chips alongside its traditional x86 processors. Company executives believe energy-efficient microservers could eventually account for as much as 25 percent of all server sales worldwide, and that the low-power ARM architecture will dominate the space, despite Intel's efforts to build out its x86 Atom platform to address the market. AMD will be the top ARM server chip seller, they've said.