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Intel Poaches Yet Another AMD GPU Executive: Ali Ibrahim

(Image credit: Ali Ibrahim, Linkedin)

For the past 13 years, Ali Ibrahim has worked at AMD as a Senior Fellow, working on cloud and Xbox related projects, among other things. Now, Ibrahim has been poached by Intel, where he has become VP of Platform Architecture and Engineering of discrete GPUs department, as reported by CRN.

"We are thrilled that Ali has joined Intel as Vice President, Platform Architecture and Engineering – dGPUs to be part of the exciting Intel Xe Graphics journey," a spokesperson told CRN.

Intel's poaching of AMD's executives started in 2017, when Intel hired AMD's Raja Koduri at the start of Intel's plans for discrete graphics—though at that time we didn't know exactly what Intel was cooking. 

Now, it's no longer a secret that Intel has been building its own discrete graphics card, but they're not directly aimed at competing with AMD and Nvidia in the gaming segment—rather, the Xe GPUs are expected to be targeted at scientific and data center use. Here is all we know about Xe Graphics so far.

Next to Koduri and Ibrahim, Intel has also poached Masooma Bhaiwala for the discrete graphics projects, Jim Keller, Mark Hirsch, Balaji Kanigicherla, and Joseph Facca  But, AMD also fired back by hiring Intel's Daniel McNamara to help grow AMD's Epyc business.

  • digitalgriffin
    I don't want to say it's a bad thing when you lose executives to your competition. But it reflects the executives belief in the current trajectory of the company. This disappoints me as AMD has righted the ship and is dumping money back into R&D on all fronts. You would think the loss of executives would have stopped by now.

    I have seen similar "wave" effects once one good engineer/programmer senior talent leaves a company. Others usually go with them.
    Reply
  • MasterMadBones
    digitalgriffin said:
    I don't want to say it's a bad thing when you lose executives to your competition. But it reflects the executives belief in the current trajectory of the company. This disappoints me as AMD has righted the ship and is dumping money back into R&D on all fronts. You would think the loss of executives would have stopped by now.

    I have seen similar "wave" effects once one good engineer/programmer senior talent leaves a company. Others usually go with them.
    Maybe, but it's mostly about where the money is. One of my professors in engineering said it's a bad idea to stay in the same company for a long time if you want good pay.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    MasterMadBones said:
    Maybe, but it's mostly about where the money is. One of my professors in engineering said it's a bad idea to stay in the same company for a long time if you want good pay.

    I agree, and many articles state this. But that's for us Peons, rules for execs are different. If you as a fellow Peon see some of your best talent leave, the following goes through your head:

    Are they getting better pay? (Greener grass)
    Is the company treating us fairly (lack of pay raises or recognition/promotion)
    Is the company a sinking ship? Is my job at risk?
    How much harder is my job going to be if we lost key talent?Executives are supposed to be the captains with the over all view of the ship. If you see them leave, it shakes your belief in #3. (Is the company ship sinking) As a corporate leader you need to shore up your employees faith in the direction of the company and how staying on will benefit them. This is one area organizational health initiatives fail to address.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    AMD graphics executives are going to be totally out of their element heading Intel's new GPU.
    These are the people who thought old GCN designs should be constantly rebadged and resold for like 10 years until they were essentially noncompetative ... They would fit in much better at Intel's CPU division.
    Reply
  • King_V
    I dunno . . if Intel really wants to get into the game, and says "We'll double your salary" - even if you're confident in AMD's future, that's kind of hard to say no to.

    I mean, I'm not saying that's what Intel was doing, but if they're desperate, and in a hurry, they certainly have the wherewithal to throw a ton of money at the problem.
    Reply
  • MasterMadBones
    Giroro said:
    AMD graphics executives are going to be totally out of their element heading Intel's new GPU.
    These are the people who thought old GCN designs should be constantly rebadged and resold for like 10 years until they were essentially noncompetative ... They would fit in much better at Intel's CPU division.
    The difference being that Intel did it out of complacency while AMD was simply out of money. They couldn't develop two new architectures at the same time, and when the decision to develop Zen was made, GCN was competitive enough to put a band-aid on AMD's massive losses at the time. It was also guaranteed to be in consoles for 7 years with minimal change.

    digitalgriffin said:
    Executives are supposed to be the captains with the over all view of the ship. If you see them leave, it shakes your belief in #3. (Is the company ship sinking) As a corporate leader you need to shore up your employees faith in the direction of the company and how staying on will benefit them. This is one area organizational health initiatives fail to address.
    There is another reason for this though. Although AMD is doing well and the outlook seems promising, AMD stock is massively overvalued. Considering most executives have a minority stock in the company they work for, they may feel like they will get more money out selling their stock now than in the future, leaving the company in the process.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    digitalgriffin said:
    I don't want to say it's a bad thing when you lose executives to your competition. But it reflects the executives belief in the current trajectory of the company.
    Hogwash.

    These guys have all been at AMD for a long time (except Keller, who wasn't even at AMD, when Intel hired him). They have a ton of vested stock options. There's really not a lot of upside for them staying at AMD.

    People leave for all kinds of reasons. Maybe they're bored. Maybe they want new challenges or to work on something a little different. Maybe they're not seeing opportunities for advancement, or maybe they just want to diversify their portfolio. These past couple years, I'm sure they've been able to command top dollar from Intel. It's been a great time to switch.

    digitalgriffin said:
    This disappoints me as AMD has righted the ship and is dumping money back into R&D on all fronts. You would think the loss of executives would have stopped by now.
    It's not as if these guys have some kind of monopoly on all the talent. Their departures have doubtlessly been making room for a whole new generation to step up and make their own impact.

    AMD has probably been able to attract a lot of top talent, lately. Especially at the lower levels of the organization. I wouldn't worry about their staffing situation.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    digitalgriffin said:
    If you see them leave, it shakes your belief in #3. (Is the company ship sinking)
    Rumor has it that Raja didn't leave of his own accord. Though he might've already sensed this and started lining up his Intel gig before he got pushed.

    As for the other execs, most of them spent quite a long time there, by tech industry standards.

    Besides, Intel doesn't have a very good reputation as an employer. If I were at AMD, I'd be sitting tight and vesting my options.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Giroro said:
    AMD graphics executives are going to be totally out of their element heading Intel's new GPU.
    These are the people who thought old GCN designs should be constantly rebadged and resold for like 10 years until they were essentially noncompetative ... They would fit in much better at Intel's CPU division.
    Cute.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    The impression I get is that Intel has a lot of money to throw around, and they're trying to make big inroads into the GPU space over the coming years, so they're willing to pay a lot for people with existing experience in the field. So that shouldn't really be indicative of the executives not having confidence in the company they work for, just that someone else is offering them more.

    And for all we know, AMD might not be paying some of these guys more because they might not feel they are worth paying more. Their graphics architecture may be catching up with Nvidia's, but there's no telling whether these guys are responsible for that, or if they were more responsible for AMD falling a bit behind to begin with. AMD has released some competitive products in recent years, but they also sometimes do things that don't always make that much sense. So, it's possible that AMD might be happy to move others into these positions, or at least they might not consider it a substantial loss.
    Reply