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AMD's Board reportedly kicked Dirk Meyer out of the CEO spot for refusing to pursue the tablets and smart phone market.  (Source: ITP Images)
Board thought CEO wasn't pursuing developing mobile CPUs aggressively enough

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. Meyer's employment.

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.





"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis



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