Mark Papermaster

Mark Papermaster
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Texas (B.S.)
University of Vermont (M.S.)
Occupation SVP and CTO, AMD

Mark Papermaster is the Chief Technology Officer at Advanced Micro Devices.[1] He had been the Senior Vice President of Devices Hardware Engineering at Apple Inc.[2] He replaced Tony Fadell who was responsible for the team that created the iPod. Papermaster worked at IBM from 1982 to 2008. His last position at IBM was as vice president of IBM’s blade server division. In 2008, Papermaster’s decision to move from IBM to Apple became central to a court case considering the validity and scope of an employee non-compete clause in the technology industry. In August 2010 he stepped down from his position because of issues with Apple’s internal politics and corporate culture.[3]

Career at IBM

Mark Papermaster worked at IBM for 26 years, beginning in 1982 in Vermont. He moved to Texas around 1990 for the rest of his employment with the company. He started designing circuits in the Microelectronics Division.[4] He then worked in microprocessor technology development from 1991 until 2006, with five years spent working specifically on PowerPC, the same architecture Apple adopted for its line of Macintosh computers. During his tenure in microprocessor development, Papermaster earned the knowledge and expertise to become a respected chip designer across the industry and a "top expert" in the field of POWER processing for PCs. IBM promoted him as Vice President of Microprocessor Technology Development.[5]

Papermaster moved from microprocessors to the role of Vice President of the Blade Development Unit of IBM in October 2006, working on IBM's blade server technology. IBM also selected him to join the Integration & Values Team (I&VT), a group consisting of approximately 300 top IBM executives who had access to "highly confidential information" not available to most of the company's employees. He served on the Technical Leadership Team as well, a group of top technical leaders in the company who focused on expanding and attracting talent to the company's workforce. Like the I&VT, the Technical Leadership Team also had access to highly confidential information.[5]

Apple recruitment

In October 2007, Apple started looking for a top-level executive to work under their Senior VP, iPod Division and eventually move into the Senior VP role, reporting directly to then CEO Steve Jobs.[5] Papermaster was one of many candidates interviewed for the position, but Apple did not find him to be the right fit. An internal email from SVP of Mac Hardware & Engineering Bob Mansfield expressed concerns about his ability to fill the position but noted that Papermaster is "immensely smart about microprocessor design, large systems, and semiconductors."[5]

In April 2008, Apple bought P.A. Semi, a microchip design company, with the intent of using the company's chips on Apple's iPods and iPhones.[6] In the microprocessor industry, P.A. Semi and IBM were direct competitors. Five months later, after the release of new versions of the iPod and the iPhone, Apple picked up the search for a Senior VP, iPod/iPhone Division to replace Tony Fadell. Papermaster interviewed again in October, and Apple offered him the position on October 10, 2008. Papermaster accepted, told IBM he planned to accept on October 13, 2008, and notified them of acceptance on October 20, 2008. IBM offered Papermaster a raise if he agreed to stay or one year's salary if he delayed starting at Apple for one year. Papermaster declined the offer and submitted his formal resignation the next day.[5]

Noncompetition agreement

Due to the sensitive nature of the information to which he would gain access, IBM had Papermaster sign a noncompetition agreement on June 21, 2006 in order to be considered for Integration & Values Team membership. The clause mandated, "...during [Mr. Papermaster's] employment with IBM and for one (1) year following the termination of [his] employment... [Mr. Papermaster] will not directly or indirectly within the 'Restricted Area' (1) 'Engage in or Associate with' (a) any 'Business or Enterprise' or (b) any significant competitor or major competitor of the company."[5] The non-compete went on to define the terms "Restricted Area" as any geographic location where Papermaster worked in the previous 12 months; "Engage or Associate with" as becoming an employee, associate, member, etc.; and "Business or Enterprise" as an "entity" that competes with any Business Unit in which Papermaster worked in the previous two years.[5] The agreement also stated that any violation of this agreement would cause IBM "irreparable harm," a factor the company suing an employee over a non-compete usually has the burden to prove.

IBM v. Papermaster

On 22 October 2008 IBM filed a complaint against Papermaster in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The parties settled after Judge Kenneth Karas filed his opinion, agreeing that Papermaster can work for Apple but must pass two court certifications - one in July 2009 and the second in October 2009 - where he testified he had not passed on IBM trade secrets.

Departure from Apple

On August 7, 2010, The New York Times reported that Papermaster was leaving Apple in the wake of the iPhone 4 antenna troubles.[2] It was later reported by The Wall Street Journal that Papermaster's exit from Apple was rather due to "broader cultural incompatibility", and a loss of confidence from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Cisco Systems

In October, 2010, Papermaster joined Cisco Systems as a VP in the engineering department.[3]

CTO and SVP at AMD

AMD announced that Papermaster would be the CTO and SVP on October 19, 2011.[7] With Lisa Su, he hired Jim Keller and Raja Koduri and organized the development of the CPU and GPU products.[8]


  1. AMD (2012-07-22). "Executive Biography - Mark Papermaster". AMD. Retrieved 2012-07-22.
  2. 1 2 Helft, Miguel (2010-08-07). "Executive Leaves Apple After iPhone Antenna Troubles -". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
  3. 1 2 YUKARI IWATANI KANE and IAN SHERR (2010-08-09). "iPhone Executive Leaves -". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  4. "Apple — Press Info — Bios — Mark Papermaster". Apple Inc. April 2009. Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 IBM v. Papermaster, No. 08-9078, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95516 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2008).
  6. Brown, Erica. Apple Buys Chip Designer, Forbes (April 23, 2008).
  7. Hachman, Mark (19 October 2011). "AMD Names IBM, Apple Vet Papermaster to CTO Spot". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  8. Cutress, Ian (2 March 2017). "Making AMD Tick: A Very Zen Interview it Dr. Lisa Su, CEO". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
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