In any technology based company there is a need for strong leadership. The problem comes in finding the right person to take the role of leader. We have seen how much of an impact the right and wrong choices can make in companies like Apple and AMD. As current CEO Rory Read prepares to step down we are taking a look at AMD and their leadership over the years. With AMD they have fought the battle of leaders ever since the tenure of Hector Ruiz. Ruiz is possibly one of the most universally disliked CEOs that AMD has ever had. Most will put AMD’s current situation squarely in his lap.
Although we reported on this last year it seems that AMD is intent on reminding all of us about their new strategy. In comments to BloombergBusinessweek CEO Rory Read has made the comment that AMD will no longer compete head to head with Intel in the CPU market. This time Read qualifies his comment with a statement that is sure to be put in the same category of Bill Gates’ famous (although misattributed) “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”
Over the course of the last year or so we have watched as a once solid company has started to crumble into a shadow of its former self. Yes we are talking about AMD and although the trip down the path to where they are now started years ago we have to wonder if there was ever a chance to change things and get the company back on track.
AMD has faced some rough time recently. After their ATi purchase back in 2006 AMD has had one poor leader after another. Under Hector Ruiz we ended up with the ill-fated $5.4 Billion buyout of ATi. This was a purchase that caused AMD to not have a profitable quarter for almost 5 years. In fact if AMD had not gotten a settlement from Intel in late 2010 they would still be operating in the red. Hector Ruiz was also responsible for the shedding of AMD’s foundries. This split created Global Foundries and forced AMD as a CPU and GPU manufacturer into a Fabless state. They now have to pay to have their processors made by another company.