We know that Intel is feeling the pressure
to deliver in the tablet and smartphone sectors, after having lagged
in its response and allowing ARM CPU makers to establish a dominant
position. But apparently Intel's perpetual competitor in the personal
computer CPU market, Advanced Micro Devices, was also feeling the heat.
According to a
report in The Wall Street Journal, AMD ousted
CEO Dirk Meyer because he lacked a convincing strategy to move the company
into the tablet and smartphone space.
The move had seemed unusual, as AMD was doing
well with its graphics offerings, was finally ready to deliver
its first "Fusion" CPU/GPUs, and is on
pace to deliver chips with its latest desktop core
architecture, Bulldozer, around mid-2011. Despite all of that, it was
mobility that appears to have been the overruling factor when it comes to Mr.
The move took investors by surprise and they
responded by beating AMD's share price downward.
Mr. Meyer had in the past seemed almost defiant,
according to sources, in his opposition of entering the mobile market.
During a new conference at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, he stated,
"While there are a lot of units there, the revenue is smaller."
AMD's board is composed of industry veterans --
Bruce Claflin, former CEO of network gear maker 3Com Corp.; Robert Palmer,
former chief at computer maker Digital Equipment Corp.; and Craig Conway, former
CEO of PeopleSoft Inc. Still one has to wonder if they're making a wise
decision throwing out a CPU-savvy CEO and going for someone with less
experience, but more of a lust for mobility.
Stacy Rasgon, an analyst who spoke with Chairman
Claflin, comments, "They are looking for a visionary, and casting a wide
net... [The next CEO will] not necessarily have semiconductor experience."
Dirk Meyer had been making an annual salary of
$950,000, plus a "target" annual bonus of $1.9 million, according to
Veritas Executive Compensation Consultants LLC. They estimate that his
severance package was $8.55M USD in cash. An AMD spokesperson, Drew
Prairie, gave a slightly higher estimate of $18M USD.
One of the candidates reportedly being considered
to be Mr. Meyer's replacement is Apple's COO Tim Cook.