AMD Head Of Graphics Raja Koduri Takes Temporary Leave, CEO Lisa Su To Lead RTG Until December

Khalid Moammer

We just received news that AMD's beloved graphics guru and head of the Radeon Technologies Group inside the company is taking some time off starting later this month and is expected to return some time in December. AMD confirmed that in the meanwhile, CEO Lisa Su will be taking the helm at RTG into 2018 in Raja's absence.

AMD's Raja Koduri Takes Some Time Off, CEO Lisa Su To Take Charge Of RTG Until December

Raja Koduri has been been the face of all things graphics at AMD since the inception of the Radeon Technologies Group a couple of years back. So, naturally the news of Koduri taking some time off has sparked speculation.

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It would be somewhat of an understatement to say that RTG is Raja's baby and his leave of absence just after the company had introduced its latest generation of graphics products based on the Vega architecture left some scratching their heads. The optics of a big name taking leave, even if temporary, are never a great thing and senior management at AMD must know this for a fact. This leads us to believe that Raja's leave of absence has occurred out of necessity.

Incidentally, just as I had finished writing the above our friends over at PCPer published their take on the story and managed to get their hands on Raja's letter to his team. Which just so happens to corroborate our belief that Raja indeed had found it necessary to take a break and spend time with family and there was simply no better time to do it than Q4, when the industry cadence slows down and no product launches are expected.

Raja's Letter To His Team

Raja Koduri Senior Vice President & Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group - AMD

RTG Team,

You haven’t heard from me collectively in a while – a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.

Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.

At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn’t believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.

I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.

Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!

Regards, Raja

Working on the cutting edge of the graphics industry is an incredibly difficult and grueling endeavour. And while I, as a hardware enthusiast, hold a genuine appreciation for the work that Raja and others do to bring us the latest and greatest technology I certainly don't envy their positions. Balancing work and family life is never an easy thing when you're trying to change the world.

Reading Between The Lines - Raja Could Take On Different Operational Responsibilities Going Into 2018

With that being said, we have to read between the lines to gain more insight into the situation. Raja dropped a subtle hint in his letter indicating that he's going to be shifting his responsibilities inside RTG going into 2018.

As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.

This perhaps could signal a change in management with Raja focusing more on the development side of the business while sharing the burden of the day to day operations with someone else. Our only hope is that Raja's time off will only serve to bring him back more invigorated than ever and ready for an action-packed 2018.

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