How many former AMD employees will join Intel’s graphics team?

Intel via Walden Kirsch. Click for original. (Image credit: Intel)

Intel has embarked on an "Odyssey" to launch a line of discrete GPUs for multiple markets, gaming among them, and if all goes to plan the first ones will show up in 2020. Equally interesting, however, is how much former AMD talent Intel is scooping up along the way.

Intel's newest hire for its graphics team is Heather J. Lennon. She is now the manager of digital marketing for Intel's graphics division. Prior to jumping ship, she was the manager of global marketing and communication for AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG).

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According to her LinkedIn profile, Lennon started working for AMD in November 2014, first as the company's global go-to-market manager for the company's enthusiast and performance component products. She joined the RTG team in September 2015.

Poaching talent is fairly common in the tech industry, though it's certainly interesting that so many former AMD employees are finding their way to Intel, and specifically in graphics. It started with Raja Koduri, who led the RTG division when it was newly formed and oversaw the launch of Vega. He's in charge of Intel's architecture group, and clearly has input on its growing discrete graphics team.

Since joining Intel in November 2017, several other former AMD employees have made their way to Santa Clara, including Jim Keller (lead architect of the AMD K8 architecture, and also worked on Zen), Chris Hook (spent 17 years at AMD, dating back to the ATI days), Damien Triolet (AMD's former technical marketing manager), and Darren McPhee (spent various marketing roles at AMD spanning almost a decade, almost all of which related to gaming and graphics, and was ATI's senior product manager back in the day).

Not everyone who joins Intel hails from AMD, either recently or sometime in their employment past. Intel recently convinced Tom Petersen, Nvidia's former director of technical marketing, to jump on board. In addition, Intel has dipped into the enthusiast sector to bring on board PC Perspective founder and editor-in-chief Ryan Shrout to serve as it chief performance strategist, and HardOCP founder Kyle Bennett, who is now the company's director of enthusiast engagement.

What's also interesting is the amount of marketing talent Intel has hired, regardless of where they came from. Intel is generating a massive amount of hype over its efforts in graphics, and at least on the surface, is interested in gathering feedback from the community to drive its efforts. It's not clear how much of that is lip service, but certainly all of this movement, hype, and community engagement is driving up expectations. We'll see in 2020 if Intel can execute.

Until then, the question remains: how many more AMD employees will land on Intel's graphics team?

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).