AMD CEO Lisa Su speaks at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Cray and AMD built the new Frontier Supercomputer at ORNL, which was completed in 2021. (Source: photo by Genevieve Martin/Wikimedia Commons)

AMD’s CEO Lisa Su Makes the Cover of Forbes for Her Innovation, Business Acumen

The heroine of AMD, a once languishing chip maker, CEO Lisa Su brought the company back from the brink after she took it over as CEO in 2014. AMD’s market cap is now $153.5 billion, making it one of the biggest chipmakers in the United States.

A story on describes the rise of AMD under her leadership, and more importantly, how she intends to steer the company into putting AI into all of its products. The company had laid off about 25% of its staff and had a share price of around $2 when she took over.

“Patrick Moorhead, a former AMD exec, remembers it as ‘deader than dead.’ Then Intel began to stumble, dragged down by manufacturing delays and Apple’s decision not to use its chips in iPhones. Nimble, with a tactician’s eye, Su was able to capitalize on her rival’s missteps, inking deals with laptop makers such as Lenovo and gaming giant Sony, plus Google and Amazon, whose massive data centers generated $6 billion of the chipmaker’s sales last year.

Intel may still do about three times its sales, but AMD has lofty goals that are part of the company’s culture to excel.

“Her decision to prioritize a new chip architecture called Zen paid off when it finally launched in 2017. “It was really good,” she says with palpable pride, adding that Zen could compute more than 50% faster than the company’s previous designs. More importantly, it signaled to the industry that AMD had turned a corner. By Zen’s third generation, released in 2020, it was the market leader in terms of speed. Zen architecture now underpins all of AMD’s processors.”

Su not only brought a customer-oriented culture to the company, she understood how to do business deals. And she is investing the company into creating great AI chips. AMD’s spending on research & development has risen to $5 billion—almost as much as AMD’s entire revenue when she took over.

“A new supercomputer at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory—the fastest in the world when completed in 2022—is Su’s passion project. The groundbreaking machine was built to have the processing power of at least a quintillion calculations per second and is a showcase for AMD’s AI chips. She’s throwing a curveball as well: The MI300 chip, which fuses CPUs with GPUs in a bid to counter Nvidia’s new superchip, will ship later this year.”

Su says she believes the company will remain strong for the foreseeable future because of the technical expertise it has amassed over the years.