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AMD's Rick Hegberg  (Source: AMD)
AMD loses another executive

In late August, DailyTech reported that Henri Richard would leave his position as executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for AMD on September 8. Richard had been with the company since 2002 and saw the Sunnyvale, CA-based company go through good times (Opteron successes) and bad times (post ATI acquisition difficulties).

Today, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that another AMD executive is jumping ship. Rick Hegberg, AMD's VP of worldwide sales, is leaving the company although a company representative declined to indicate when the resignation would take place or his prospects afterwards.

Hegberg was a former ATI employee and came to AMD after the 2006 acquisition. Hegberg is also the second former ATI executive to leave AMD -- former ATI CEO Dave Orton left in July.

It's interesting that three key executives are abandoning the company prior to the release of Barcelona. AMD's native quad-core processor family is just around the corner and the company has already announced pricing for the new chips.

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Normal departure after merger?
By MetaDFF on 9/5/2007 12:20:10 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe having this exec leave is just a normal departure after the ATI and AMD merger. Much like how Dave Orton (former ATI exec) left after completing his job in merging both AMD and ATI, the departure of Hegberg (also former ATI employee) is something of a similar nature.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By RamarC on 9/5/2007 12:30:44 PM , Rating: 3
i think the ati guys are being forced out. the ati unit is underperforming and having tech problems at a time when amd can't afford to lose market share anywhere.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By Adonlude on 9/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: Normal departure after merger?
By Polynikes on 9/5/2007 1:00:37 PM , Rating: 4
Call me crazy, but despite AMD's rather serious troubles of late, I'm confident they can endure these hard times.

I'll just be buying Intel CPUs for a while.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By 16nm on 9/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: Normal departure after merger?
By Targon on 9/5/2007 3:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Dumping execs? After ANY merger, there will be those who leave because they don't feel comfortable in the post-merger environment. In the case of Dave Orton, going from being top dog to someone who has to answer to others may not have been something he would enjoy. So, he gave it a try, then decided that he would rather leave.

Seriously, how many jobs have YOU had where the job was great, but the chemistry between you and your co-workers just didn't feel right for you? It's not about pay, or the job, or how the company is doing, it is really about how much you enjoy your job.

ATI was already going through competition stress dealing with NVIDIA, so the situation AMD is in really shouldn't be seen as being all that different. The only difference is that you have a future, since the merger DOES provide a lot of great long-term potential.

In the long run, we will see the merger move up the schedule for 65nm and 45nm GPUs thanks to AMD experience researching these technologies. That should help the GPU side of things quite a bit.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By 16nm on 9/5/2007 3:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
Dumping execs?

No, no. You entirely missed my point. Probably you are too emotional about AMD. It's not about dumping execs. It is about dumping the WRONG execs, i.e. ATI execs. Should be keeping the ATI staff as much as possible -they seem able to execute in a competitive environment (an ability that eludes Hector).

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By Nik00117 on 9/5/07, Rating: 0
By vignyan on 9/6/2007 2:07:00 AM , Rating: 2
This is a computer industry with billions of dollars at stake. People getting cocky is fine... but companies getting cocky is something that is not ideal... Agreed that AMD was way too "cocky" in trying to show intel down... but that was not the reason that they failed. Its just that Intel came up with a better product... And their success is attributed to their products...

Grow up!

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By vignyan on 9/6/2007 2:01:39 AM , Rating: 2
In the long run, we will see the merger move up the schedule for 65nm and 45nm GPUs thanks to AMD experience researching these technologies

I dont think AMD is having any significant investment in the development of 45nm. All of the AMD's 45nm will be coming from IBM and other manufacturing partners.

BTW, Nvidia is not leaving things all alone, they are on-schedule for their 50nm chips due out early next year.

By Viditor on 9/6/2007 3:15:03 AM , Rating: 3
All of the AMD's 45nm will be coming from IBM and other manufacturing partners

It was actually a joint development of AMD and IBM out of East Fishkill...AMD invested over $.5 billion on the development tools, as did IBM.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By BitJunkie on 9/5/2007 1:01:10 PM , Rating: 2
Or they reached the end of thier tie-in period following the acquisition and are now free to leave?

Most buyouts that I've seen make some provision to tie management and key staff to a slot for a period - if they leave prior to that, they can pass up on a large chunk of cash / share options.

Of course, they could just be sacking the guys who screwed channel partners in order to keep Mr Dell happy.

RE: Normal departure after merger?
By deeznuts on 9/5/2007 1:33:09 PM , Rating: 3
Yes but if so, for public companies, these arrangements/reasons are announced so the appearance of rats jumping ship aren't conjured up.

By BitJunkie on 9/6/2007 4:47:41 AM , Rating: 2
Are they? At least in the UK there's no legislation that says one MUST make such announcements. So then consider which scenario looks better:

1) Exec jumps given the first opportunity at the end of his tie-in with company.

2) Exec in pushed by said company.

Then place both of those scenarios in the context of a company that's trying to improve the perceived credibility of it's management.

If he did leave on his own, then making the announcement means people know he did and the company appears "weak". If they don't make an announcement then there's always the rather helpful speculation that they are cutting dead wood and being ruthlessly efficient business people thus looking stronger and more in control.

I place my money on the last of those options.

By KristopherKubicki on 9/5/2007 2:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
i think the ati guys are being forced out. the ati unit is underperforming and having tech problems at a time when amd can't afford to lose market share anywhere.

There is some truth to that.

By PAPutzback on 9/5/2007 1:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
Henri Richard is one of the top 4 holders of stock. If people new their stock\life was going down the drain I think they'd be unloading their stock.

Two things I keep loing for each day - a X38 or Barcelona review.

By kilkennycat on 9/5/2007 1:41:20 PM , Rating: 5
Excellent time to dump executives... when the stock price is in the dumpster. Normally after departure, stock options have to be liquidated within 3 months.

By JonnyDough on 9/5/2007 2:51:56 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed. VERY good point. I already used my votes, someone vote the previous post up please.

By JonnyDough on 9/5/2007 2:54:23 PM , Rating: 1
This could also be a sign that AMD believes they are about to do good things. When the execs sell off stock, AMD gets a piece back and if the stock goes up, AMD makes more money. Let's not forget that AMD has had a very long term plan/vision and that acquiring ATI was supposedly part of that plan. To not see Core2Duo coming might have been a mistake, but I would guess that they weren't completely unaware it could happen. I'd say they have a game plan, let's all quit speculating and wait and see.

mice fleeing sinking ship?
By geeg on 9/5/2007 12:13:42 PM , Rating: 4
We need AMD dammit..

RE: mice fleeing sinking ship?
By AntiM on 9/5/2007 12:20:19 PM , Rating: 4
No, they are just ATI execs. Common practice in a takeover to get rid of un-needed, highly paid execs of the company that was assimilated. I think AMD will be just fine in the long term.

Keeping reality in check
By PsyberX on 9/5/2007 1:16:28 PM , Rating: 5
Take it what ever way you want, but look closely at who is leaving... "Sales"
Put yourself on the board of directors and imagine having to evaluate how AMD/ATI has handled the past year (including the merger), who would you be asking to leave?

After several years in the IT industry, it is safe to say that all three of those Exec's (ATI or not) are directly linked into the lack of sales, indirectly to the price cuts and in the end, largely responsible for where AMD/ATI sits in the market right now.

If I see the CTO being walked out (that's right - don't think these guys are leaving on their own accord!), then I might be worried. Right now, AMD has a viable pipeline, some great integration strategies and some very smart people working in their technology division. It's time to start thinking down the road and with some fresh "Sales" blood in there I can only foresee good things in the upcoming year.

But that is just an executive point of view.

By konekobot on 9/5/2007 4:07:26 PM , Rating: 1
I'll play devil's advocate and say that these top brass are privy to what's coming down the pipeline. They know the processors, coming out soon, cost tons of money to develop and they probably know the price/performance ratio. They probably know they have nothing in the near future that will compete with intel.

I'm absolutely sure that they have signed comprehensive NDA's, and therefore will never disavow their knowledge. However, that doesn't keep them from doing what they can to protect their pocket books.

As with all things in business-- you buy low and you sell high. The fact that they are selling/leaving now indicates that they know their stock options are about to take a nosedive and it's time to get out. In a couple years when amd has bled as much as it can and occupies a budget-market space w/ integrated graphics solutions and low-power low-performance low-price low-everything chips. That'll be the time to buy-in.

By mars777 on 9/5/2007 8:02:53 PM , Rating: 2
ATI personell doesn't have to compete with Intel, more likely with nVidia. It's ATI Execs that are leaving...

By konekobot on 9/7/2007 3:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not really saying that ATI has to compete with Intel. I'm saying that the ATI and AMD cheifs have COMMON interest in the form of stock options. Regardless of who is competing with who, the top brass have to be aware of what is coming down the pipeline (graphics or CPU related).

There would be no reason for ANYONE to jump ship if what the near future holds is promising. By leaving now, it only hints that they are planning to sell their investment in the company. It says that they believe they can find some other place to grow their money, because AMD/ATI is probably not that place. It says they know what's about to come and it can't compete... AMD / ATI (and they are the same now) can't compete for market share in the near future of 2 years (that's my guess).

Everyone draws a line between ATI guys and AMD guys, but when the stock is the same it doesn't matter. When you're at the top and you have millions invested, it doesn't matter. You don't say "Bleh... those aren't 'our' people so it doesn't affect me". It's not about technology, or company politics, or business ethics... it's all about money. The big guys' actions are showing that you shouldn't place your bets (invest) in AMD.

By Ard on 9/5/2007 12:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Like rats fleeing a sinking ship...AMD has been bleeding executives like crazy. This brings the count to 6.

RE: Damn
By AmberClad on 9/5/2007 1:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
Henri Richard is apparently headed to Freescale. Read into that what you will, as far as AMD's future prospects (Freescale is operating in the black, unlike AMD at the moment).

so the VIPs leave
By sgun on 9/5/2007 2:40:42 PM , Rating: 2
But what about the drones? I mean, are there any figures on how many (if any) engineers etc. left DAAMIT after the merging?

A non-story...
By Viditor on 9/5/2007 10:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hegberg was expecting to get Richard's job and was told that he wasn't getting he's moving on. Happens every day, nothing to see here...move along. :)

this is why
By GlassHouse69 on 9/5/2007 3:25:52 PM , Rating: 1
The higher the amount an executive makes, the lower the quality of the executive in terms of causing increases in profits. Also, the lower the quality of the executive, the more they retire with. A normal package for retirement is 10 days of pay for every 1 day you are at the "helm" for your company. Retiring with 150 million dollars is relatively small for "executives". These people make MORE if they screw up and leave. this has nothing to do with peoples' thoughts on amd products or ati acquisitions. They make certain that their own pay and infinite wealth has nothing to do with anything performance related.

he just felt like playing golf and then making more money on another board while underperforming.


Merger was a Mistake
By GhandiInstinct on 9/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Adonlude on 9/5/2007 12:45:59 PM , Rating: 3
Blaming all AMD's woes on the merger? Barcelona is over a year behind, it hardly clocks over 2GHz, and AMD is so hush hush about it that we don't even know if it can compete with Conroe much less its sucessors. No, there is nothing that AMD could have done to keep Intel from creating Core 2 Duo.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Viditor on 9/5/2007 11:00:29 PM , Rating: 3
Barcelona is over a year behind

That is just plain wrong...
Since it's inception 4 years ago, Barcelona has been expected to be released in mid 2007. I would agree that it will be 4-6 months behind their hoped-for release date, but over a year???
it hardly clocks over 2GHz

They have already shown Agenas clocking at 3 Ghz...
The Barcelonas being released in Sept are the lower power versions. The higher power versions (expected to clock up to 2.6 GHz by the end of the year for quad and 3 GHz+ for dual in Q1) are being launched in November (2 months later).

Also remember that the November K10s are to be a new stepping again (B3).

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By DFranch on 9/5/2007 12:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
New CPU's are in development for years, the ATI merger is a recent development, and had little to do with the fact that AMD had no answer for the core 2 duo. AMD got caught with it's pants down with the core 2 duo plain and simple. ATI has also been having trouble since before the merger keeping up with Nvidia. The 7 series video cards were better than anything ATI had at the time, and the 8 series just blew them out of the water. Only time will tell if the merger is a success. The problems you are seeing now would have probably happened to the two companies independently anyway. Hopefully the merger will pay off eventually.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By DrKlahn on 9/5/2007 1:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
Incorrect on the 7 series. The X1800 was a match for the 7800GTX with AA/AF enabled. The X19xx series was better all around then it's 7xxx counterpart. Only with the R600 series are we seeing ATI falter.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By maroon1 on 9/5/2007 2:00:31 PM , Rating: 4
First of all, don't forget that 7800GTX came 6 months earlier than X1800

The midrange ATI X1xxx series were worse that than Nvidia midrange 7 series. 7600GT was much faster than X1600XT, and 7600GS was faster than X1600Pro. Thats why ATI replaced X1600XT and X1600Pro with X1650XT and X1650pro

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Jedi2155 on 9/5/2007 2:49:21 PM , Rating: 4
The X1800 series was developed and design in time to be competitive with the 7800GTX, but it was due to a bug in a third party design library (they are using a hardware description language to develop these chips), that caused a leakage problem in the chips that caused them months to locate.

This is also why the x1800 and x1900 series were only 3 months apart in their respective launches. The different design teams had their designs already done, so when they found the bug it was a simple matter to fix.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By jarman on 9/5/2007 4:53:48 PM , Rating: 2
Um, no. The X1950XTX was an improvement on the debacle that was the X1800 series, but the crossfire implementation was a poor alternative (dongle anyone?) to nVidia's superior SLI technology (e.g. 2 x 7950 GTX) in the market at the time.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Darkskypoet on 9/5/2007 5:43:43 PM , Rating: 4
AMD didn't get caught with it's pants down...

What AMD did do, was gamble.. and they lost.

First off, Barcelona is late, very late. Does anyone remember the Athlon XP stepping that was Thoroughbred A? Remember how bad it scaled? Take that and multiply it by a lot. They had to take an architecture that was of common place complexity, and rework and spin it quick.. and voila, Thoroughbred B. What did it take? An extra metal layer, and that baby scaled up incredibly well.

Fast forward to the first iterations of the Barcelona core... The gamble was in going monolithic vs MCM. When the biggest baddest Fab guys on the block (intel) don't go monolithic.. there might just be a technical reason. AMD's error was in the hubris of believing they could pull it off in time. (very few if any fab based companies can pull of Intel's manufacturing prowess. This is simply a fact)

They didn't and couldn't, and now we see the fall out. Barcelona, and a competitive IPC core to core 2 duo was supposed to arrive well before now. Had it, we would still be in the throes of an actual CPU performance war instead of a price one. Sadly, we are not. (except in some of the most obscure yet profit rich environments)

2nd idiotic gamble: Phasing out 939 far to early. The only way you hold the legions of enthusiast converts from going C2D is to give them a drop in replacement for their aging single core chip. Force them to buy a platform, and they will not usually buy yours if you are not competitive.

Dropping 939 sent the market share back Intel's way in a decently (not wholly responsible) large way. Especially when combined with the channel screwing that occurred.

Miss a deadline, and kill you're only solution that would delay platform upgrade for your installed base is ludicrously stupid.

However, Thats what happens when you have very few fabs. Opportunity cost baby!

Had AMD inked a deal with chartered (tsmc, etc)to make the less complex 65nm core for 939 and AM2, moving themselves wholly to AM2, it might have been a smarter move. Thereby gradually phasing out 939. Obviously they learned nothing from ATI's major mfg partner Sapphire, who still releases AGP cards to an existing un-catered-to market.


When strapped for resources to allocate to all of your stream processing needs (GPU, CTM Server boards, Pro Grphx solutions), you go for the architecture that is applicable to as many market segments as possible.

Enter R600. Yes it hasn't shown up as a dominating top end Single Gaming card solution. However, look at the professional level benchmarks for the card, and look at the power unleashed from such a "GPU" in CTM custom coded apps. (for example folding)

When Pro level Fire GL cards sell for up to 5 times that of the 2900XT for the same cost, do you allocate resources to make the gaming card better, or to make a kick ass general purpose vector processing monster?

The Fire GL will eat the Quadros for breakfast.

There are very few, if any (that I am aware of) methods to use 8800 series parts for folding, or other massive vector processing ala the CTM push from ATI/AMD. This is yet again another sector of the market that the R600 is king in.

Many of us on this site are very self centered to believe that a large company is going to always focus very scarce resources (especially now) on winning the uber gaming card contest fanboys love and live for. Is it preferable? Yes. Is it necessary on a strategic level? no. Not when you already have multiple massive OEM design wins for the midrange (yuck this time around) and low end discrete market.

In sum:


Pants down with Core 2 Duo? Hardly. MCM Barcelonas could have been released (if they went that route) a long time ago. They gambled, and lost. Those are balls of brass!


Not everyone's priority is to win the Gaming card competition to the exclusion of all else. And if you haven't noticed Crossfire is currently superior to SLI, and will only continue that superiority as it seems scalable up to and past 3 GPUs. There is a reason Dual 2900XTs hold the current performance crown. Also the new Fire GLs are coming... I doubt we'll laugh at the 2600xt core again.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Master Kenobi on 9/5/2007 1:05:27 PM , Rating: 3
Here, let me correct a few things for you.

ATI was losing market share to Nvidia, AMD was getting beaten by a new Intel architecture in everyway.

And what do we have now, Intel almost a monopoly at this point(exageration).

Yes, Intel only holds 81% of the market. Intel was never a monopoly, they have never been convicted of it, need to stop spreading false claims aka FUD.

Now lets roll with some real facts eh?

2 of the 3 AMD executives were with ATI and probably just had their positions eliminated. Happens all the time during mergers. The third guy is the odd man out and his exit made the biggest statement in the theory that Barcelona might not be all its cracked up to be. We shall see soon. Taking AMD's current stance into consideration, if Barcelona was going to take Conroe or Penryn to the cleaners AMD would be up on their soap box trumpeting this till hell froze over. Since they aren't I can only assume it's going to have similar performance to Penryn/Conroe in Benchmarks and real-world scenario's. The think to look for here is the lack of enthusiasm from AMD regarding the Barcelona launch. Intel made no secret of the fact that it was going to demolish Athlong and when the launch game and independent benchmarks were run, it did just that. AMD did the same when Athlon was steamrolling the P4 in gaming. The fact that AMD is saying very little right now says quite a bit.

Better luck with K11?

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By blwest on 9/5/07, Rating: -1
RE: Merger was a Mistake
By KristopherKubicki on 9/5/2007 3:54:30 PM , Rating: 3
Master Kenobi does not work for DailyTech. He has a blog icon because he took the initiative to get himself published, but he does not write news for the site.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By blwest on 9/16/2007 3:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
Editor-in-Chief to me means you work for them...Regardless, you provide me with the satisfaction of knowing that the real news is safe.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Regs on 9/5/2007 5:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
Even if Barc turns out to be competitive in its first year (I doubt it will beat Conroe at this point), AMD has a whole slew of other problems. Internal and external. Their CEO is simply not experienced enough in mergers. Just like what happen to HP. Over zealous CEO wants to merge, destroys their company, then gets booted out by the board members so that they could hire someone competent enough to clean up the mess.

Their products are late, their revenue went from the top of Mt.Saint Helens to the lower levels of Death Valley (in comparison).

Who better to resign than the chief of sales? He respectfully resigned before he likely got the axe if you asked me. He had a lot of people to answer to with no answers. I really don't think the Chief of Marketing and Sales quit because of Barcelona. He quite because his dream job became his own hellish nightmare and the pressure coming down on him was likely enough to squeeze a snot ball out of geroge washingtons portrait on the quarter.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By Viditor on 9/5/2007 11:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Here, let me correct a few things for you

I shall help you as well...

Yes, Intel only holds 76.3% of the market

Intel was never a monopoly, they have never been convicted of it

1. A monopoly means that you have the vast majority of the market, not 100%
2. There's no law against being a monopoly , so how can they be convicted??

The third guy is the odd man out and his exit made the biggest statement in the theory that Barcelona might not be all its cracked up to be

The 3rd guy was expecting to get Henri Richard's job and was turned down...that's why he is leaving.

Intel made no secret of the fact that it was going to demolish Athlong and when the launch game and independent benchmarks were run, it did just that. AMD did the same when Athlon was steamrolling the P4 in gaming

1. Intel was losing HUGE chunks of marketshare and had to stop the loss...the price war they initiated wasn't doing this.
2. AMD was desperately trying to get their first OEM contracts and the only way was to build demand on all fronts.

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By mushi799 on 9/5/2007 3:16:28 PM , Rating: 3
Amd was never "annihilating" intel

RE: Merger was a Mistake
By jarman on 9/5/2007 4:55:27 PM , Rating: 4
Well, more like producing superior performing desktop and server chips for three years.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki
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