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AMD's CTO steps down; Chipmaker says bench strong

Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer, has stepped down.According to the company, Friday is Hester's last day at the company and he's looking at other opportunities.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer, has stepped down.

According to the company, Friday is Hester's last day at the company and he's looking at other opportunities. Before AMD Hester had been CEO of Newisys, a Sanmina-SCI company, and spent 23 years at IBM. Hester was responsible for "setting the architectural and product strategies and plans for AMD’s microprocessor business," according to his bio. Hester won't be replaced.

Hester also chaired AMD's technology council, which set development, process and product strategies. Hester wasn't directly responsible for the Barcelona launch, according to News.com's Tom Krazit.

Tom reports:

Most of Hester's time was spent tackling AMD's ambitious Fusion project, which is now known as its accelerated computing initiative. Fusion is AMD's plan to integrate a graphics processor onto a CPU, and was the inspiration for the company's acquisition of ATI Technologies in 2006. But the first chip designed in this manner, a notebook chip code-named Swift, isn't expected to arrive until the second half of 2009, leaving quite a gap between now and then for Hester's replacements to iron out the kinks.

Individual business units will now pick up Hester's responsibilities. AMD has been struggling and recently issued a revenue warning and plans to cut 10 percent of its workforce.

Update: Talked to AMD spokesman Drew Prairie. Prairie explained that Hester's primary focus was on what is now AMD's Accelerated Computing, formerly known as the Fusion project that Tom refers to above. In December 2007, AMD hired Mike Uhler, the former CTO of MIPS, to be the first vicde president of AMD's Accelerated Computing unit. Uhler will take on Hester's responsibilities in that unit.

As for the units picking up Hester's remaining duties, Prairie noted that AMD's business units--graphics chips, consumer electronics, processors and chipsets for instance--all have CTOs. Here's AMD's CTO bench:

  • Mark Bapst - Handheld CTO
  • Mike Goddard - Client CTO
  • Samir Hulyalkar - Digital Television CTO
  • Raja Koduri - Graphics CTO
  • Rich Oehler - Server CTO

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