The Inquirer-Home

Byrne stars in AMD executive shake-up

Star VP emerges from the ranks
Mon Dec 15 2008, 09:24

SUPER SALESMAN John Byrne is set to become AMD's global VP for CPU, GPU and chipsets.

Hardcore Celtic fan Byrne, who has clawed through a number of Glaswegian gutters on his way to the top, has emerged from the carnage of the AMD-ATI merger to drive the whole company forward.

When ATI was snapped up by AMD in 2006, rather than forming one great big happy family, the merger was more akin to a viper's nest of jealousy, internal politics and in-fighting.

Layer upon layer of under delivering and over paid management fought tooth and nail to preserve their fiefdoms.

And from those battles emerged a shining light unto Chimpzilla, with one particular set of results standing out amidst the gloom after the RIF (Reduction In Force) culls: Byrnes's EMEA GPU sales force, led by man-giant Darren Grasby.

Running Northern Europe for his new firm, Byrne delivered record sales quarter after quarter with a lower proportional cost base than any other region.

Repeatedly debunking the unofficial company mantra that "everything is the product groups' fault," Byrne and his gang pointed out that they had actually managed to keep selling, despite only having mediocre to crummy products to flog.

And now, with AMD's share price down to about $2, the plucky chipmaker has finally turned to Byrne to see if he can work some magic on its lagging CPU and chipset sales to bring the firm back into the race with Intel.

Known to be a straight shooter and a smart, aggressive type who takes no prisoners, Byrne - who is firmly entrenched in the UK and European computer scene - purportedly has exactly the 'fresh attitude' needed to sweep away AMD's cobwebs and take on Intel and Nvidia in a way the former execs weren't capable of doing.

Byrne got his lucky break working for Philips during a university internship. Byrne joined the company's accelerated management programme where he quickly got noticed. He even spent a stint trading with the graphics enemy in the late 90s when his agency, 3DSL, significantly helped drive Nvidia sales.

But apparently citing ethical reasons [shurely not - ed], Byrne left Nvidia high and dry in early 2002, during the great brain drain that saw the green goblin lose some of its best minds to ATI.

Interestingly, we got a sniff of this story some four months ago and when we called Byrne for a comment, he laughed off the allegations. "That's news to me," he said, asking us to let him know if we heard any further developments pertaining to his career.

So, consider this a heads up John Byrne. The beers are on you. µ







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