AMD hires ex-Lenovo exec Rory Read as new CEO

AMD hopes Read will take the company into new markets

After months of hunting, Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday said it hired Lenovo executive Rory Read as its new CEO as the chip maker looks to grow in the mobile and server markets.

Read, who is moving over to AMD from his job as president and chief operating officer at Lenovo, has a track recording of taking companies into new product segments and profitability, AMD spokesman Drew Prairie said in an e-mail. Read starts his job immediately, and AMD hopes his prior experience will bring the depth and vision that helped transform Lenovo into the world's third largest PC maker.

"[Read] is ideally suited to accelerate AMD's evolution into the world's leading semiconductor design company," said Bruce Claflin, AMD's chairman, in a statement. "His sound strategic thinking and natural customer orientation will help amplify the voice of the customer inside AMD."

AMD is facing many challenges that Read will have to immediately address. The company has been late in entering the fast-growing tablet market, in which it has virtually no presence. AMD has also lost market share in the high-margin server market to Intel, though it has gained market share over Intel in the sagging PC market.

The company is due to release a new 16-core server chip code-named Interlagos later in the third quarter. Earlier this year AMD released new Fusion chips, which have helped it gain overall processor market share over Intel. AMD's microprocessor market share grew to 19.4 percent during the second quarter, up from 17.8 percent during last year's second quarter, while Intel's market share fell to 79.9 percent from 81.3 percent in the year-ago quarter, according to a study last month from Mercury Research.

In a statement, Lenovo said Read made a significant contribution that helped the company succeed.

"His selection as CEO of AMD is a great reflection of the way the industry views Lenovo's talent and our performance," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo CEO.

Lenovo has no immediate plans to name a new president or COO to replace Read.

AMD has been looking for a CEO for more than six months after former chief Dirk Meyer resigned in January following disagreements with the board of directors on the direction of the company's mobile strategy. The company's chief financial officer, Thomas Seifert, took over as interim CEO after Meyer resigned. Seifert will return to his role as CFO.

Read's appointment came after many executives shied away from taking on the job as AMD's CEO, according to media reports. The list of candidates reportedly approached by AMD includes William Nuti, CEO of NCR Corp.; Pat Gelsinger, formerly Intel's chief technology officer and senior vice president and now EMC's chief operating officer; newly appointed Apple CEO, Tim Cook; and Mark Hurd, who joined Oracle as co-president in September after being ousted as Hewlett-Packard's CEO.

Despite criticisms, AMD officials insisted the time it took to appoint a CEO did not matter, and it wanted to find the candidate that could drive the company in the right direction.

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