AMD layoffs reverberate across Silicon Valley

AMD is implementing a massive “restructuring plan” in an effort to improve its competitive positioning.

”Reducing our cost structure and focusing our global workforce on key growth opportunities will strengthen [our] competitiveness and allow us to aggressively pursue a balanced set of strategic activities designed to accelerate future growth,” explained newly appointed AMD CEO Rory Read.

”The actions we are taking are designed to improve our ability to consistently address the needs of our global customer base and stake leadership positions in lower power, emerging markets and the cloud.”

Unfortunately, restructuring is a sterile euphemism for layoffs, with the company terminating approximately 10% (1,400) of its  workforce.

A list compiled by Icrontic confirms the following employees have been let go: Director of the Products Group, senior engineer Carrell Killebrew; PR Manager Antal Tungler; PR Rep Bernard Fernandes; FirePro Product Marketing Managers Robert Miller and Lidia Gentilucci; Corporate VP of Strategy and Fellow Patrick Moorhead; Margaret Franco, VP of Marketing; and John Volkmann, Corporate Marketing Fellow.

According to Charlie Demerjian of SemiAccurate, the layoffs are likely to have a negative impact on AMD.

“Carrell Killebrew, the man credited with Eyefinity, [is] probably the largest advantage AMD has in the graphics market right now. [This] is completely unfair, there are lots of good people remaining at AMD, but the sheer number of VPs, Fellows, and other high ranking people that were just ‘optimized’ is rather shocking,” wrote Demerjian. 

“If you don’t think this is the end of an era for AMD, here is something to think about: Patrick Moorhead was the last VP at AMD from the Sanders era. Of the dozens of VPs at a company of AMDs size, he was the last one of the old guard remaining. For good or for bad, this is a new chapter for AMD.”

But Kevin Krewell, a senior analyst at The Linley Group, told Sylvie Barak of the EETimes that while staff cuts are always painful, “there’s a message buried” in the press about changes in AMD’s strategic direction that could be quite positive for the company’s future.

“I think that AMD is in the process of altering it’s direction and that new trajectory looks a lot like the direction that ARM is taking… So AMD is either heading toward a direct conflict with ARM or it’s heading toward a partnership.”

Analyst Roger Kay from Endpoint Technologies expressed similar sentiments to EET.

“This is Rory Read’s first big reorganization [and] Wall Street certainly cheered the move as news of it leaked out… [Read] has indicated that later on there will be hiring, probably in the high mobility space, where AMD has yet to make a move. [Remember], Nvdia has moved into ARM processors with Tegra, and Intel is doubling down on Atom, but AMD has nothing in this space,” he added.