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Dirk Meyer is stepping down from the position of CEO at AMD.  (Source: ITP Images)

He will be replaced temporarily by CFO Thomas Seifert.  (Source: KitGuru)
Ruiz lasted five years, Meyer only two and a half at chipmaker AMD

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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It's safe to say
By killerclick on 1/10/2011 8:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's safe to say that a CEO stepping down isn't a good sign for the company. It may prove to be a good decision but this late into Bulldozer development this can only be a sign of trouble.

RE: It's safe to say
By Samus on 1/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: It's safe to say
By nafhan on 1/11/2011 8:30:20 AM , Rating: 2
I was under the impression AMD was doing OK, financially. They're certainly not raking Intel levels of cash, but they were in the black for 2009, and if you look at non-GAAP results, they're also in the black for Q1-3 of 2010. They've certainly done more with less in the past.

RE: It's safe to say
By bah12 on 1/11/2011 9:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, this is not a good sign. I wonder though if it has anything to do with the nvidia settlement. If this guy is the one that settled with Intel, I'd be a little ticked that they got a better settlement. Nvidia's allegations were strong, but nothing compared to what Intel did to AMD. I think there was always a doubt in the board's mind about the deal, and the Nvidia results just reinforced that he indeed failed to get what he should have from big blue.

RE: It's safe to say
By Da W on 1/11/2011 10:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
The phenom years have been the worst, product-wise. They selled for next to nothing. Turion processors sucked. But most of the income losses where write-down from ATI purchase. With that out of the way, fabs spin off and 2 new architectures coming plus renewed market dominance in descrete GPU, the 2010-2011 finances shouldn't be that bad. Of course, they need money to continue.

This firing (cause make no mistakes, the board fired this guy) is because:
1) AMD is fresh-off a atom-killer product launch (Bobcat), a netbook marvel coming in a world where tablets are going to kill netbooks. Hit the wrong target.
2) AMD is going to be sold.

RE: It's safe to say
By 91TTZ on 1/11/2011 1:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
People have been saying the same thing since the mid 90's. It isn't going to happen anytime soon.

Really applaud his effort!
By carniver on 1/10/2011 9:12:50 PM , Rating: 5
Thanks for cleaning up after the bastard CEO before you, and giving Intel and NVIDIA significant competition once again. Radeon 4xxx to 5xxx has been very competitive, Phenom X6 is also the first mainstream hex core CPU. Props also for having lead the team that designed the first Athlon processor. You really are the man.

RE: Really applaud his effort!
By Hogger1 on 1/11/2011 8:36:27 AM , Rating: 2
His Ferrari shirt is pretty darn sweet too. I imagine the car that came with it isn't bad either.

Different philosophies, that's all
By Beenthere on 1/10/2011 9:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
AMD continues to deliver quality products that consumers desire. Intel still controls the market due to their years of criminal activities. This will not change for another decade or so.

We live in an upside-down world where political and corporate criminals reap windfall profits from their crimes while ethical companies struggle to deliver quality products and services because they play by the rules. AMD has survived over 35 years by delivering quality products and they will continue on as long as people vote with their wallet and conscience.

By vol7ron on 1/10/2011 10:33:53 PM , Rating: 1
I would have liked to have seen what AMD could have done. I remember how I didn't know much about AMD and found out how great they were just after purchasing a new Intel machine.

Then, I wondered why Dell and other companies never sold AMDs. At the time, I thought it was either because AMDs stunk or because the websites were not equipped to do it - it wasn't until the recent FTC charges that I found out.

Still, Intel has been putting out some good procs, so at least they haven't been sitting on their ass. I'm just curious what would have happened. Would AMD have been able to hire some talent to keep their tech going, or would they have just been a one-hit wonder?

All-in-all, we know one thing for sure. ATI was the best move they've made in recent years. Hopefully, AMD can improve competition in the CPU marketplace, but their best bet is probably going to be SoC's. The profit margin with mobile devices is still probably more ideal.

A rocky road for AMD in 2011....
By fteoath64 on 1/11/2011 6:56:15 AM , Rating: 2
" 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"

How are they going to do that ?. AMD is not in the mobile market, nor tablet market, nor networking/nas consumer market. While the ATI division is doing fairly well, the rest are stuck with X4,X6 and Fusion APUs. Realistically their choices are limited by what they have. Wonder how much they spend on R&D ....

What were they thinking?
By wordsworm on 1/11/2011 8:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
I really get the feeling that this is like that time when Moses went to Mt. Sinei to pick up those G-tabs and his followers decided to erect a golden calf. Only, in this case, it's more like they've decided to abandon him half way through the parted Nile and I fully expect the river waters to rush back in and crush them.

He seemed to perform a miracle and now they're letting him go before they've even found a replacement. I hope they made the right decision.

Not good....
By Amiga500 on 1/11/2011 12:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
Replacing an engineer with a bean counter?

Seen this before in other industries. An unmitigated f**king disaster.

The bean counters can tell you all about how much it will cost to do something; but the clueless bstards can't tell you a word about how much it will cost if you don't do something.

Expect true innovation to die at AMD as they now aim for the "low hanging fruit". :-(

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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