AMD fires CEO Dirk Meyer and begins hunt for new fall-man

Subject: Processors | January 10, 2011 - 06:00 PM |

In a move that is stunning to just about everyone, the Board of Directors at AMD has decided to part ways with CEO Dirk Meyer.  Even after having...

"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"

...the era of Dirk has ended.  The above statement should not be overlooked though: Meyer was able to keep AMD relevant and progressing towards better things while it was splitting apart and dealing with the summation of year and years of Intel litigation.  The Fusion APUs are finally hitting the scene (though admittedly late) and the Zacate platform looks to be a success based on the design wins we saw last week at the show. 

The reasoning for the split looks to be a difference of opinion on how to progress with the company as the Directors and Meyer have different visions.  This could mean that Meyer was more aimed at the high performance computing spaces as a former CPU company employee while others though the progress should be more targeted at the GPU technologies acquired from ATI.  Or, the push of NVIDIA into the ARM space could have frightened the board into thinking that the low power market was really where they needed to head.

In any case, the result is the same: Meyer is out and someone else is headed for the position.

AMD demos Fusion APU platforms at CES 2011

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Jan. 10, 2011 — AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, 47, as interim CEO following the resignation of Dirk Meyer, 49, as president, CEO and a director of the company effective immediately.

A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO. The Committee is led by Bruce Claflin, Chairman of AMD’s Board of Directors, who has been named Executive Chairman of the Board as he assumes additional oversight responsibilities during the transition period. Seifert will maintain his current responsibilities as CFO and has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO position.

“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,” said Claflin.

”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.”

Seifert joined AMD in 2009, and has more than 20 years of general management, global operations and financial management expertise. Immediately prior to joining AMD, Seifert served as COO and CFO of Qimonda AG, where he led the formation and subsequent IPO of the company. At Infineon AG, Seifert served as senior vice president and general manager in its Wireless Business Group.

In commenting on Seifert, Claflin said, “During his tenure at AMD, Thomas helped strengthen the company’s balance sheet while demonstrating strong leadership and winning the respect of his peers. His operations and finance experience make him an excellent choice to guide the company as interim CEO.”

“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,” said Seifert. “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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