AMD Confirms Departure Of Graphics Chief Raja Koduri

AMD has confirmed that Raja Koduri, head of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group is leaving the company. For now, Lisa Su, AMD's CEO will run RTG until a replacement is found.

Hexus.net first broke the news by publishing an internal AMD memo, purportedly drafted by Koduri. In it, Koduri said goodbye to the Radeon Technologies Group team members. Although AMD would not confirm the authenticity of an internal memo, sources close to the matter tell us that it is indeed the real deal.

The full internal memo reads:

“To my AMD family,

Forty is a significant number in history.  It is a number representing transition, testing and change. I have just spent forty days away from the office going through such a transition. It was an important time with my family, and it also offered me a rare space for reflection. During this time I have come to the extremely difficult conclusion that it is time for me to leave RTG and AMD.

I have no question in my mind that RTG, and AMD, are marching firmly in the right direction as high-performance computing becomes ever-more-important in every aspect of our lives.  I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing with Vega, Navi and beyond, and I am incredibly proud of how far we have come and where we are going. The whole industry has stood up and taken notice of what we are doing. As I think about how computing will evolve, I feel more and more that I want to pursue my passion beyond hardware and explore driving broader solutions.

I want to thank Lisa and the AET for enabling me to pursue my passion during the last four years at AMD, and especially the last two years with RTG. Lisa has my utmost respect for exhibiting the courage to enable me with RTG, for believing in me and for going out of her way to support me.  I would also like to call out Mark Papermaster who brought me into AMD, for his huge passion for technology and for his relentless support through many difficult phases.  And of course, I want to thank each and every one of my direct staff and my indirect staff who have worked so hard with me to build what we have now got.  I am very proud of the strong leaders we have and I'm fully confident that they can execute on the compelling roadmap ahead.


I will continue to be an ardent fan and user of AMD technologies for both personal and professional use.

As I mentioned, leaving AMD and RTG has been an extremely difficult decision for me.  But I felt it is the right one for me personally at this point.  Time will tell.  I will be following with great interest the progress you will make over the next several years.

On a final note, I have asked a lot of you in the last two years.  You've always delivered.  You've made me successful both personally and professionally, for which I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.  I have these final requests from you as I leave:


. Stay focused on the roadmap!

. Deliver on your commitments!

. Continue the culture of Passion, Persistence and Play!

. Make AMD proud!

. Make me proud!

Yours,

Raja”

We reached out to AMD's Drew Prairie (corporate communications) for comment. His full statement reads:

"Earlier today, we announced two unrelated updates for our Radeon Technologies Group: 1) Raja Koduri has decided to leave AMD and 2) we are taking the next steps in our work to strengthen RTG by further focusing the organization on key growth areas.
 
I wanted to also make sure you understood these updates do not impact our plans or the strategic direction we are driving our graphics business. We appreciate the contributions Raja has made helping establish our dedicated graphics focus and strong team that is capable of accomplishing the ambitious goals we have set for this part of our business. Also want to make sure it is clear that there are no changes to our public product or technology graphics roadmaps, and we remain on track to deliver on our commitments in 2018 and beyond. Lisa will continue to lead RTG on an interim basis while we complete our search for a new leader.
 
We have made significant progress across AMD these past two years delivering the first wave of our high-performance products, best exemplified by our improved financial performance and year-over-year market share gains across all of our client, graphics and server products. Today’s changes are designed to allow us to better take advantage of the significant growth opportunities in front of us."

AMD created Radeon Technologies Group in 2015, under Koduri's leadership, and heads turned when it was announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from AMD shortly after the anticipated debut of Radeon Vega graphics cards. Koduri indicated that he would return in December, but now it is apparent the AMD figurehead will no longer be at the RTG helm.

Raja's Legacy

During his time as the head of RTG, Raja Koduri and his team set a fast pace for AMD, creating the roadmap for the GPU that would come to be known as Vega. Some have speculated that Radeon RX Vega 56 was the catalyst to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Ti.

The roadmap AMD recently shared at its financial analyst day in May takes RTG past two versions of Vega, to Navi (on 7nm), and then "Next Gen" by 2020. All of this while AMD has also been hyper-focused on becoming competitive in the CPU marketplace with Ryzen and Threadripper.

Only yesterday, AMD announced a semi-custom GPU for an upcoming Intel multi-chip package for mobile PCs, yet another surprising feather for Kaduri's cap, and perhaps a fitting end to his tenure at AMD.

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