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Lisa Su ascends to AMD's CEO post

Posted: 09 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Lisa Su? CEO? AMD?

AMD appointed Lisa Su as CEO and president, succeeding Rory Read, who has stepped down after only three years on the job. Su is the only female CEO among the top 20 Silicon Valley companies, and one of the few in an industry where men outnumber women.

In a conference call, Su and Read laid out the transition, saying they had no disagreements with AMD's board on the direction ahead. However, Read's short tenure and the speed at which Su was elevated left a sense of something missing with analysts and this reporter.

Four analysts and reporters asked about the timing of the transition on the call. One noted the news came just eight days before the company is expected to release third-quarter results. Another noted the company did not report a compensation package for Su in a filing on the transitionsomething often done with long-planned moves.

Lisa Su

Su: It's all about the technology and how we accelerate that.

Su was named AMD's chief operating officer just four months ago in a corporate reorganisation. She joined AMD in December 2011 as senior vice president and general manager of global business units, responsible for the company's product strategy, product definition, and business plans. She was the second big hire for Read, who joined AMD in August 2011. He hired CTO Mark Papermaster that October.

During the call, Read was adamant that a leadership transition has been in the works since he joined the company, and that the choice of Su makes sensesomething few analysts would argue.

We put together a real team focused on creating a new AMD. The part I am good at is done. The next part is about planning products... That's Lisa's background. She's a semiconductor professional. With Mark and Jim [Keller, who leads AMD's processor design team], they will take this to the next step. The board and I felt this was the right time and place, and Lisa is the right leader.

We looked at succession plans in each board meeting. When we made the decision [to name Su as CEO], we had a fiduciary responsibility to share it immediately. We made the decision this week, and we needed to share it.

Female CEOs still scarce in tech

Ironically, among the top 20 chip companies, only AMD archrival Intel has a woman in the corner office. Renne James is president of Intel, sharing the top spot with Brian Krzanich, its CEO. Marvell also has a female president and a male CEO.

Female CEOs have become only slightly less scarce in the high-tech sector outside the chip industry, where Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Yahoo are run by women.

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