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January 17, 2020updated 19 Jan 2020 10:11pm

AMD Poaches Intel Veteran to Run Its Server Chip Business

Altera veteran Dan McNamara lured to rival...

By CBR Staff Writer

Semiconductor maker AMD has poached the general manager of Intel’s network and custom logic group to run its server chip business, in a coup for the resurgent chip firm.

FPGA specialist Dan McNamara will be responsible for building on a groundswell of interest that met the August 2019 launch of AMD’s new EPYC “Rome” line of chips.

His new responsibility: “To accelerate adoption of the company’s high-performance server solutions with cloud, enterprise and ecosystem partners.”

He’ll have fresh powder to play with: AMD says its third-gen “Milan” line’s design is complete. The latest architecture is set to enter production in Q3.

Read this: AMD EPYC Rome Launch: The Specs, the Reaction to the new 7nm CPUs

McNamara spent 11 years at Altera Corporation before its $16.7 billion acquisition by Intel in 2015, going on to take a VP role in Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group, before a promotion that saw him heading up its custom logic segment.

He has demonstrated “consistent engineering execution and a proven track record of successfully driving growth in the data center market” AMD said.

“Strengthening and expanding our leadership team are key to building on the significant momentum we have generated over the past several years,” said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO in a release shared late Thursday.

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The company also announced four senior VP promotions.

Read this: AWS’s New Graviton2 Processors Put Intel, NVIDIA on Notice

AMD’s latest 7nm CPUs have broken a claimed 70+ world records in terms of performance. At its launch in August, Twitter’s Jennifer Fraser, a senior engineering director, told an audience that Twitter had achieved 45 percent more cores per rack and 25 percent lower total cost of ownership with the second-gen EPYC .

The hire comes as cloud hyperscalers slashed spending on data centre chips in 2019 (a year during which semiconductor sales tumbled over 11 percent overall).

AMD says it sees a total available market for chips in the data centre sector of $29 billion. The company reported its highest quarterly revenue since 2005 in Q3, 2019 (the last reported quarter) along with its highest quarterly gross margin since 2012.

The company remains small beans alongside Intel in terms of scale, however, with its $1.8 billion in quarterly earnings far below Intel’s $19.2 billion.

See also: Intel Growing “Gangbusters”: 5 Key Takeaways from its Q3s

Top image shows McNamara, left, with Intel’s then-CEO Brian Krzanich in 2016. Credit: Intel 

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