A lot has changed for women in recent years, but the semiconductors business and its top management ranks are still a man's world.
Lisa Su, the lone female CEO of the semiconductor world, is the exception who has ushered Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) 's remarkable turnaround over the past four years.
AMD is now aiming to capture 4-6% of the server market in 2018 with a mid-term target of a double-digit market share, as the whole semiconductor industry is poised for an "inflection year" as Wells Fargo points out in its research on September 9.
Wells Fargo boosted Advanced Micro Devices' price target to $34 per share from $20 on Monday, as analyst Aaron Raker cited confidence in "management's ability to drive upward of $2 billion a year in server CPU revenue in 2020," Bloomberg reported.
Lisa Su is continuing to chart a remarkable turnaround for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) as she navigates the male-dominated technology field to nearly 300% stock rise this year.
As we approach the four-year anniversary of her taking on the chief executive role, it is important to remember the mess she waded into as she assumed the role.
In October 2014, when Su took over from Rory Read as CEO, the share price regularly hovered around $3 per share, nearly 1000% less than today's opening price of about $30.
According to a 10-K filing from 2012, the company was losing over $1 billion per year, which contrasts sharply with the company's stated ability to produce revenue over $2 billion per year in its most recent earnings.
After taking over leadership, Su quickly charted a course to today's strong revenue projections, taking only one year of growing pains to kickstart growth acceleration that has led to 25% revenue growth year over year in the past year, up from negative revenue numbers in 2016.
In helping spark the turnaround for the company, she set the stage first by restructuring and cleaning up the balance sheet for the beleaguered company.
From the start, the MIT graduate and former engineer set her focus on products and product quality, which has helped the company grow from a discount chip-maker into a prominent rival of both Intel Corporation (INTC) and Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) .
The shift has put its peers on the defensive.
"Intel has publicly admitted that AMD will take at least some market share from the company with management stating that its goal was to defend its position and not let AMD capture 15-20% market share," Wells Fargo analysts explained in a September 9 note. "AMD CEO Lisa Su has stated that the company is targeting 4-6% of the server market in exiting 2018 with a mid-term target of a double-digit market share."
In contrast with her predecessor, Su is setting ambitious targets to go after the competition rather than coexist and undercut them on pricing.
Analysts are beginning to notice the company's ability to hit its ambitious targets for production of competitive products and market share gains as well.
"The company has largely executed to its product roadmaps and continues to innovate in multiple markets on a shoestring budget," Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore wrote in a note on the company's second quarter earnings release, impressed by the company's consistency under Su's steady hand.
As more product releases are slated ahead for the company in the back end of the year, Su's steady target hitting track record should paly well to maintain analyst confidence.
With projections now guided to continue into double digits on the back of these upcoming releases, the shift in focus looks to pay dividends for investors in the future.Lone Female CEO
AMD is a standout also because it's the only company with a woman at the helm in its peer group, according to FactSet and Bloomberg data.
Other competitors like Nvidia has female chief financial officers or chief strategy officers, but Su is the only chief executive.
What does it mean for shareholders? Su is a fighter.
According to a study from the American Society for Engineering Education, women receiving degrees in science and engineering has remained well behind the pace of men receiving such degrees, accounting for only 20% of degrees awarded.
As a result, there is sure to be concern over the sourcing population for women leaders in these high-tech companies and has created a dearth of women in the executive suite for the corporations.
However, Su has put much of these doubts to rest amid the company's turnaround during her tenure.
Jim Cramer, portfolio manager for the Action Alerts Plus portfolio and founder of TheStreet has been particularly bullish on her leadership since taking over the helm from her male predecessor and eschewed any doubts on her capability.
Su will be a guest this evening on CNBC's Mad Money where she will be able to not only discuss the turnaround.