Su in, Read out at AMD

readChipmaker AMD has announced that its Chief Operating Officer Lisa Su will replace Rory Read as chief executive officer.

Read has been doing the job for three years and analysts do not seem sad to see him go, they are only concerned about the timing. Earnings announcements are next week and an exit like this would suggest that the news is bad.

AMD has seen its market value nearly halved since Read took over in 2011 as the company lost market share to Intel. The outfit has been expanding into new markets such as game consoles and low-power servers and it aims to obtain half of its revenue from those additional businesses by the end of 2015, but progress has been too slow for the cocaine fuelled of Wall Street.

Su however is a popular choice amongst investors and customers.

It is not clear how Read was pushed out. Asked repeatedly on a conference call about the unexpected timing of AMD’s leadership change, Read said it was the result of a long-term succession strategy.

He said that the changeover was well planned, well understood.

Read’s response to the slump in PCs was to slashed the company’s workforce, hire a new senior management team, including Su, and launched AMD’s move into new markets, including ARM-based servers, digital signs and medical devices.

Su, who is 44, said her top focus would be on product development and that she would also simplify AMD and sharpen its focus. She joined AMD in 2012 and is widely seen as one of AMD’s most valuable executives.

AMD promoted Su to chief operating officer in June, increasing expectations among investors that she might eventually replace Read.

AMD said its board was discussing with Su the terms of her employment. She is currently paid an annual base salary of $650,000, the company said.

Read will remain with the company as an advisor until the end of the year.