Advanced Micro Devices has struggled over the last few years. Despite having briefly seized the discrete graphics sales lead from NVIDIA (courtesy of acquisition ATI) and having its first competitive CPU product in a couple years (Fusion) in some regard (power efficiency), the chipmaker faces an uphill battle.
Though it beat analyst estimates, the company posted losses in Q2 and Q3 2010, after having enjoyed its first profitable quarters in some time in Q4 2009 and Q1 2010 (thanks in part to a $1.25B USD civil suit payout from rival Intel).
Now the company has announced [press release] that its Chief Executive Officer, Dirk Meyer will leave the company immediately as per a “mutual agreement” with the company’s board of directors.
Bruce Claflin, chairman of the board since March 2009 comments on the split with Mr. Meyer, “Dirk became CEO during difficult times. He successfully stabilized AMD while simultaneously concluding strategic initiatives including the launch of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, the successful settlement of our litigation with Intel and delivering Fusion APUs to the market.”
“However, the Board believes we have the opportunity to create increased shareholder value over time. This will require the company to have significant growth, establish market leadership and generate superior financial returns. We believe a change in leadership at this time will accelerate the company’s ability to accomplish these objectives.”
Mr. Meyer had assumed the role of CEO in July 2008, placing his reign at just under two and a half years. He replaced Hector Ruiz, AMD’s long-time chief from between 2002 to 2007. He was integral in orchestrating the closing of Mr. Ruiz’s deal for ATI and smoothing the GPU and CPU divisions’ integration and collaborative efforts.
Mr. Ruiz had been billed as the replacement for long-time CEO Jerry Sanders, who co-founded the company and served as President and CEO from between 1969 and 2002.
The CEO picture thus becomes somewhat unsettling for the chipmaker — the original CEO stayed 23 years, the next 5, and the most recent a mere two and a half. This shortening longevity is almost certainly reflective of the company’s growing struggles, similar to U.S. automaker General Motors’ uncontrollably accelerating rate of CEO turnover.
Replacing Mr. Meyer is CFO and Senior Vice President Thomas Seifert, who will serve as interim CEO while a long term replacement is searched for. Mr. Claflin will lead the CEO search committee. An interim replacement CFO has not been announced — Mr. Seifert will presumably hold down the positions of CEO and CFO.
Mr. Seifert promises to stay on course with the company’s key objectives, commenting, “AMD enters 2011 with considerable product and financial momentum. Our roadmap for the year, including our “Llano” APU and 32nm “Bulldozer” based processors remain on track. I believe we have significant opportunities to cement our leadership positions in several key market segments based on the strength of our upcoming products.”
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