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AMD RTG head Raja Koduri takes a Sabbatical

by Mark Tyson on 13 September 2017, 11:34


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The head of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group is about to take a lengthy break from the pressures of his position. RTG Senior Vice President and Chief Architect Raja Koduri will start his break on 25th September and intends to return sometime in December. In the interim period AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su will take the reins.

Some sites have put forward various theories about Koduri's Sabbatical - for example the absence is there to cover a period where he will be replaced. However, I think PCPer has covered the revelation in the most balanced way possible and that has been helped by its sharing of the email sent from Raja to the RTG team, about his decision to take a break.

Raja Koduri's Twitter account @GFXChipTweeter has gone a bit quiet after he shared his thoughts in a series of 15 Tweets concerning Vega, gamers, miners, and pricing at the end of August. Incidentally those Tweets came the day after Koduri had spent a fortnight in India on a combined vacation and engineering visit.

If you have seen Koduri talk about GPUs at AMD's tech showcases, and indeed from previous Twitter activity, you will know he is an enthusiast in the field - but everyone needs a break. Furthermore, all of the GPU's he has had a hand in bringing to market have been sell out successes - whether that's by design or happy accident (mining craze), we can't really know.

Below I've reproduced the letter from Koduri, as published by PCPer. It provides a good non-sensational background to the Radeon chief's decision.

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

HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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“and keep the momentum going!” he makes such a statement, and then takes a long break… AND no one questions that? Maybe as a “leader” he should keep going himself!
“and keep the momentum going!” he makes such a statement, and then takes a long break… AND no one questions that? Maybe as a “leader” he should keep going himself!

If his staff have trust in him, why would they question it?

Are you saying that a manager / director / team leader, doesn't deserve time off?

If staff can't work without having someone to lord over them all day, then maybe they need to find a new job…
… If staff can't work without having someone to lord over them all day, then maybe they need to find a new job…

The sign of a really good manager is that they should only need to be in the office under exceptional circumstances. If they've done their job properly the office/unit/factory/whatever should run without them, because all their staff know what their jobs are and how to do them.
There's probably not really anything for him to do right now. Navi is a way off although probably all but finalised and Polaris and Vega are selling faster than they can make them. Other than trying to improve supplies, which he probably can't really influence because AMD are fab-less and contracts are already in place.
Just bought himself a new 1080Ti and taking time off to enjoy some gaming.