AMD Names New CEO: Lenovo’s Rory P. Read

Steve Jobs isn’t the only CEO making a move in the tech industry this week; Rory P. Read, formerly of Lenovo, has been tapped as the new CEO of AMD.

Read has had a successful run at Lenovo for the last five years, including the last two as its president and COO where he oversaw the company’s overall growth strategy. Under his watch, Lenovo experienced a worldwide turnaround and enjoyed record growth and profits, including seven consecutive quarters in which Lenovo reigned as the world’s fastest-growing major PC manufacturer. (It now stands as the third-largest PC maker globally.)

Prior to his tenure at Lenovo, Read wore a few different hats at IBM for 23 years, but the keyword for his accomplishments in the positions he held was “growth”. Apparently the guy is a growth machine, both in terms of customers and revenue.
For its part, Lenovo was relatively magnanimous in its own press release on Read’s departure. In the release, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said:
“Rory Read has made a significant contribution to our success during his time as president and COO at Lenovo. His selection as CEO of AMD is a great reflection of the way the industry views Lenovo’s talent and our performance.”
Yuanqing was clear, however, that although Read was important to Lenovo’s success, the company would power on without him:
“Rory has played a key role in our record-setting growth and our consistent performance. I am very confident that we have a strong team, great products, and the right strategy. Based on that, we will continue our strong growth momentum.”
Still, Lenovo’s press release specifically mentioned that there are currently no plans in place to find or appoint a replacement for Read--those who reported to him will (for now) report to Yuanqing--which makes us think that this move caught Lenovo off guard.

Read’s appointment will hopefully settle the CEO position at AMD, which has been an area of some drama for the last few years. After nearly a decade in the top spot at the company, Hector Ruiz left in July 2008; he had certainly done some good work during his tenure, but his resignation followed seven consecutive quarters of losses. (Ruiz was later accused of insider trading as chairman of Global Foundries.)

Then, longtime AMD ladder-climber Dirk Meyer replaced Ruiz, but he suddenly resigned early this year after just 18 months on the job. Since then, Thomas Seifert has been the interim CEO; when Read takes over, Seifert will resume his role as Senior Vice President, CFO at AMD.

In AMD’s press release announcing his appointment, Read had this to say:
“I’m very pleased to be joining AMD at this important time in its history. 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. 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. I’m excited to be joining AMD’s employees as we write the next chapter not just for the company, but for the industry and consumers around the world.”
Tags:  AMD, Lenovo, Enterprise