AMD CEO Meyer Resigns, Search On For Successor


Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) CEO Dirk Meyer has resigned from his position effective immediately, AMD revealed late Monday. AMD has named CFO and senior vice president Thomas Seifert as interim CEO while the company's board of directors searches for Meyer's replacement.

Meyer, a 14-year AMD veteran, took over for ex-AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in July 2008 at a time when the chipmaker was facing a bleak future after racking up seven consecutive quarterly losses. AMD staggered out of its fiscal 2007 year, losing a total of $3.38 billion.

Bruce Claflin, chairman of AMD's Board of Directors, credited Meyer with righting the ship and overseeing AMD's March 2009 spinoff of GlobalFoundries, its $1.25 billion patent lawsuit settlement with Intel in November 2009, and the delivery of Fusion APUs to market.

However, AMD's board feels that a new CEO would be better equipped to take advantages of the opportunities that lie ahead. "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," Claflin said in a statement.

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, was surprised at the news of Meyer's departure. "AMD's prospects have actually been looking good. Their relationship with HP and other top tier OEMs has been improving, and they've shifted their strategy away from manufacturing and toward design and innovation," said Swank.

But Andy Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder, applauds the move and says AMD hasn't had solid leadership since co-founder Jerry Sanders left in 2002.

"Mix in the current SEC issues [former AMD supply chain manager Mark Anthony Longoria was charged in December for his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme], several badly missed quarters and the fact that they have a factory guy running what is now a fab-less company and you have a recipe for change," he said.

In October, AMD reported better-than-expected Q3 earnings but said it expected sales to be flat in Q4. At the time, Meyer warned of weakening consumer demand for mobile graphics products for notebooks and netbooks but sounded a more upbeat tone for AMD's GPU business. He also praised AMD's Fusion processors, which the company launched last week at CES.

"Our business model is solid. Our AMD Fusion strategy is changing the industry,” Meyer said in October.

Meyer was co-architect of the Alpha 21064 and 21264 microprocessors at Digital Equipment Corporation, where he worked for nearly a decade before joining AMD in 1995. He led engineering for the Athlon microprocessor at AMD and in April 1999 was named VP of engineering. He became a group vice president and GM of AMD's microprocessor business in 2001 and the following year was named an executive officer.

Seifert has been with AMD since 2009 and has previously served as COO and CFO of Qimonda AG and senior vice president and general manager of Infineon AG's Wireless Business Group.