John Byrne Becomes AMD's Chief Sales Officer, Can he turn WW Sales Around?
8/10/2012 by: Theo Valich
The art of sale is driven by people, not the products themselves. The world remembers numerous salesmen that were able to turn the company around and instigate a new way of thinking. Lee Iacocca, David Ogilvy, Sir Richard Branson, Zig Ziglar, Larry Ellison, Jerry Sanders, Steve Jobs all have one thing in common - thinking outside the box and reinventing the company.
On the other hand, the situation at AMD looked just like Chrysler before Lee Iacocca came back and invented a new type of car, Steve Jobs coming to save Apple weeks after Sony decided not to acquire them. The company had a great sales team over half a decade ago lead by Henri Richard, Pierre Brunswick, Giuseppe Amato, Rick Bergman etc, but over the past half a decade, the company kept changing people who were in charge of sales.
However, the previous management did one thing right - brought in John Byrne from Vanguard Microelectronics and Advanced Technology Incorporated, sales organizations which supported companies like ATI Technologies, CyberLink, VIS and others. Over the past 18 months, John was given a "trial run" by organizing sales in the "Americas Mega Region" which covers both North and South America. Even though AMD products could not compete with Intel in terms of raw power, taking a look at channel sales in the North and South America reveals that AMD prospered to the point where majority of retail products are supply constrained, while OEM sales is under pressure from Intel. Still, at last year's mega-retail event Black Friday and Cyber Monday, AMD took home over 70% of microprocessor and notebook sales. This was a testament to what can happen when a compact team is lead by proper characters.
Furthermore, John orchestrated the Fusion Partner Program which led to record sales of the company's Fusion A- and E-Series processors. The effort almost resulted in poaching Apple away from Intel, only to have GlobalFoundries not being able to deliver ordered 32nm APU silicon for the 2011 MacBook Air.
Thus, appointing John as Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer only seemed like a logical move. As a real successor to Henri Richard (2001-2006), we are seeing initiatives in the channel which simply were not there for years. John Byrne is just one of recent appointments, such as Lisa Su (Business Development), Mark Papermaster (CTO) or Jim Keller (CPU Architect). While we still believe the company needs to sort its engineering team, pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together for the first time in ages.
By looking at the second quarter results, where AMD missed out on revenue by double-digit percentage and actually achieved a net profit, the company is reorganizing itself in a leaner organization. Time will tell can John attract top talent in his sales organization and be innovative enough to push the company internally and serve as a supplement to the relentless CEO. As always, we wish all the best to all, but especially to creative and positively-driven people.
AMD, John Byrne, Advanced Micro Devices, Henri Richard, Pierre Brunswick, Giuseppe Amato, Rick Bergman, Jerry Sanders, Colonel Sanders, ATI, ATI Technologies, Vanguard Microelectronics, Advanced Technology Incorporated, CyberLink, Americas Mega Region
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