AMD hires former Nvidia and Synaptics execs to lead its Radeon Technology Group

When AMD's former graphics boss Raja Koduri left the company to ultimately land at Intel, he left some pretty big shoes to fill. Too big for one person, apparently—AMD is bringing two leaders on board, Mike Rayfield and David Wang.

Rayfield will serve as senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, the company's dedicated graphics division from which Koduri departed, and Wang will hold the role of senior vice president of engineering for the same department. Both will report to AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su.

"Mike and David are industry leaders who bring proven track records of delivering profitable business growth and leadership product roadmaps," said Dr. Lisa Su. "We enter 2018 with incredible momentum for our graphics business based on the full set of GPU products we introduced last year for the consumer, professional, and machine learning markets. Under Mike and David's leadership, I am confident we will continue to grow the footprint of Radeon across the gaming, immersive, and GPU compute markets."

Rayfield is a 30-year veteran of the technology industry, having most recently served an executive role at Micron. Prior to that, Rayfield was the general manager of the mobile division at Nvidia, where he led the team that created Tegra.

As for Wang, this is not his first stint with AMD. He previously  worked on AMD's system-on-chip (SoC) efforts, and prior to that, he held various technical and management positions at ATI, ArtX, SGI, Axil Workstations, and LSI Logic. His most recent position before returning to AMD was at Synaptics, where he served as senior vice president of Systems Silicon Engineering.

These are solid hires on paper, though how they execute AMD's game plan in graphics remains to be seen. Under Koduri, AMD made itself somewhat competitive again in the high-end GPU market with its Polaris and Vega architectures. We say "somewhat" because Vega arrived a year later than Nvidia's Pascal architecture, and brought parity rather than dominance to the graphics scene.

It will also be interesting to see how AMD juggles its graphics efforts between gaming and cryptocurrency mining. Nvidia recently reiterated that gamers are a priority, and AMD has made similar statements in the past. However, there is currently a shortage for graphics cards as Ethereum and alt-coin miners gobble up the available supply.