AMD today announced the return of Jim Keller, who has spent the past four years as a director in the platform architecture group at Apple after joining the company as part of the 2008 acquisition of P.A. Semi.
Keller, who previously was a key contributor to AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron 64 projects before moving on to positions at other companies, will be returning to the company as corporate vice president and chief architect of AMD’s microprocessor cores. Keller will report to AMD chief technology officer Mark Papermaster, who spent a brief time heading up Apple's iPhone and iPod engineering teams.
“Jim is one of the most widely respected and sought-after innovators in the industry and a very strong addition to our engineering team,” said Papermaster. “He has contributed to processing innovations that have delivered tremendous compute advances for millions of people all over the world, and we expect that his innovative spirit, low-power design expertise, creativity and drive for success will help us shape our future and fuel our growth.”
Keller was most recently a director in the platform architecture group at Apple focusing on mobile products, where he architected several generations of mobile processors, including the chip families found in millions of Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs. Prior to Apple, Keller was vice president of design for P.A. Semi, a fabless semiconductor design firm specializing in low-power mobile processors that was acquired by Apple in 2008. While there, he led the team responsible for building a powerful networking SoC and its integrated PowerPC processor.
Keller's hiring is being seen as a major victory for AMD, which has been suffering from the loss of a number of executives in recent months. Apple of course has a significant team of designers and engineers working on its chip projects as it seeks to advance its Ax series of ARM-based chips that have become the heart of its iOS devices, but Keller has undoubtedly been a key figure in that effort.