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Who will take over AMD marketing for 2012?

After quite a few years pushing the company's CPUs and, more recently, graphics products – it seems that Nigel Dessau is taking the long walk into the land of the lawless. KitGuru ponders what effect this will have on the thorn in Intel's side.

Nigel was one of those unusual marketing chiefs, who did not really seem to meet with press or customers. There's more than one way to market, and no one way will suit all companies, but in a world of fierce competitors and fine lines between success and victory, you'd imagine that the marketing VP that spends the most time on the road, shaking the most hands, will win.

Now, according to the uber-scribes at TechEye, Nigel's no longer got the choice.

In the four year period from 2006 to 2009, AMD's revenues remained relatively static. Tough to take, when Apple/Arm/Intel/RIM were all making dough like bakeries on steroids.

If you hold steady in a steady market, then everyone will say that you're doing well, you are solid company – to be trusted.

Alternatively, if the market is booming in new and various ways, but your company is solidly focused on the models, channels and strategies that worked so well in the past, but are becoming dated, then you have a problem.

Struggling to dent Intel is no shame. The company is a monolithic giant with marketing and R&D budgets that are probably bigger than the whole of AMD's turnover. However, nVidia's move from a stumbling/hot/sweaty GTX480 launch – to being ‘the man who can' integrate Tegra into a wide variety of fast-developing products – is nothing short of amazing.

From the time AMD bought ATI, the level of staff turnover – top to bottom – has been stunning.

Two changes of CEO was just the start. There has also been a lot of movement in the CTO and engineering areas (significantly, to Apple). Now, finally, we're seeing the older marketing folk like Nigel Dessau, Rick Bergman and Pat Moorehead move onto other projects.

AMD may well be reducing its overall wage bill, but will it end up with a team that can win in 2012?

Internally, the VP elect for Nigel's still-warm seat is ex-Dell lady, Leslie Sobon. If Dirk was still CEO. But he isn't. Rory Read will have his own opinions, so we'll have to wait and see if Leslie's hit a glass ceiling or breaks through to the top marketing spot.

As the world moves from being a geeks-only-use-PC culture to a computing-for-everyone environment, it might prove very useful for AMD to have her kind of perspective.

Technically, MBA-qualified marketing guru Leslie is AMD's Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Product & Outbound Marketing, but that's a little long. Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer sounds much nicer.

KitGuru says: We're prepared to go out on a limb here and say that new CEO Rory Read has two clear options in front of him. However, which path he takes the company down for 2012 will largely depend on 2011's results. If the company fails to hit target and cannot deliver the kind of results the shareholders will be looking for – then Read may well be forced into another round of reductions and ‘turtle head back in the shell' strategies. On the other hand, if he can deliver anything close to ‘a successful 2011', then we thoroughly expect AMD to use that as a springboard for aggressive marketing and significant growth next year.

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