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AMD Looking For New CEO as Dirk Meyer Resigns

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 87 comments

Changes at the top for AMD.

AMD had a great presence at CES with its fantastic Fusion products in many vendors' devices. Today, but big news isn't about a new chip, but a shift in leadership.

AMD today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, 47, as interim CEO following the resignation of Dirk Meyer, 49, as president, CEO and a director of the company effective immediately.

Seifert will maintain his current responsibilities as CFO and has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO position.

“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,” said Seifert. “I believe we have significant opportunities to cement our leadership positions in several key market segments based on the strength of our upcoming products.”

A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO. The committee is led by Bruce Claflin, Chairman of AMD’s Board of Directors, who has been named Executive Chairman of the Board as he assumes additional oversight responsibilities during the transition period.

“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,” said Claflin.

”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.

AMD is announcing certain preliminary results for the fourth quarter 2010. Fourth quarter revenue increased 2 percent sequentially to approximately $1.65 billion and gross margin was approximately 45 percent.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    haricotvert , January 10, 2011 11:41 PM
    willardThis is what happens when you consistently fail to grow the company and repeatedly post gigantic losses. Just two years ago they posted a quarterly loss of a whopping $300M. Q2 last year was a loss of $43M, and Q3 was a loss of $118M. They are hemorrhaging money, while their competitors post huge profits. To compare, Nvidia's last three quarters were all positive, $137M, $131M and $77M. Intel's numbers are positively obscene.Why is it that people are so attached to AMD? It's got to be some kind of underdog thing, just wanting to see the little guy beat the big guy.I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but AMD is just a company. A company that's been playing second fiddle to Intel (and more recently, Nvidia) for a long time. Current AMD processors are a generation and a half behind current Intel processors, and I'd wager damn near anything that Intel will be launching even faster i7 chips long before Bulldozer ever sees the market. If Bulldozer isn't as good as Sandy (and I'm guessing it isn't based on the last couple matchups between Intel and AMD), then they're set up to lose even more money.Sometimes you just have to face facts and admit that you've been beaten. AMD seems to have done just this and is doing what they can to try to turn things around. I wish them the best of luck, but I'm not too optimistic.


    You're correct that AMD has continually posted quarterly losses and otherwise has not been in direct competition with Intel for several years (just look at the disparity in market share). However, I'm not sure people fully understand the incredible amounts of time, effort, and $$$ that is required to make something as complex and powerful as a modern CPU, whether consumer-level or enterprise-level.

    I used to work for AMD. I've spoken with customers about the Blue vs. Green wars firsthand. AMD internally knows that they cannot compete with Intel blow for blow in a sustainable way like they did during the FX vs. Pentium D days. I mean, if that's really what most of TH sees as the "glory" days, where enthusiast processors were going for 400 bucks a pop but both sides had extremely competitive performance, then be my guest.

    AMD knows they are the underdog at the consumer level. Their offerings are not meant to cater to people for whom money is no object. Why do you think Intel still has a $1,000 processor offering whereas the flagship offering from AMD barely costs 1/4th that (the price of which is still dropping)? AMD's enthusiast processors are geared towards the "value gamer" who knows that the savings they make on the CPU can be put towards a beefier graphics card - where the true performance gains are. Consider that "grandma" only needs a Sempron to check her email and play solitaire, and "mom and pop" only need at most an Athlon x2 to watch their DVDs, surf YouTube, use Microsoft Office, and transfer and organize their photos. Long story short: the people who need massive multithreaded processing power know that they need it (3D graphics designers, movie makers, music mixers, virtualizers, and so on), and will buy the CPU that fits their needs accordingly.

    I don't foresee AMD trying to re-instigate the Socket 939 days any time soon. It's a fight they would lose, and they know it. It would be a war of attrition between Intel and AMD, a war that AMD is almost guaranteed to lose because Intel has the capital and existing market share to outlast them. AMD knows they are the underdog and will continue to play the underdog game, touting their CPUs as power- and price-efficient rather than going balls-out performance.

    Just consider that Intel's revenue for 2009 was over 6 times as much as AMD's. Think of what portion of that amount is funneled back directly into JUST Research and Development - it more than likely exceeds the entirety of AMD's yearly revenue (and historically, it has). That's a huge resource disparity that ANY company would have difficulty overcoming - and plenty of people on Tom's Hardware and elsewhere would have you believe that AMD is meant to be on equal footing with Intel. That's just simply not the case, and a slightly unreasonable expectation. It smacks of a Dilbert-esque "AMD should be able to do more with less!" mentality. Absurd.

    Even if AMD did try that, they could very well sink faster than they (supposedly) already are. Bulldozer - myth or not - is probably not going to beat or necessarily even be on par with whatever Intel's mainstream offerings are once it is released. Just like the Phenom and Phenom IIs did not unseat the Core2 Quads (or even the Duos, in some cases!) when they came out. But they offered a value alternative for people who wanted quad core computing on the cheap (and absolutely playable framerates in modern games, when paired with any halfway-decent video card). AMD may simply have to be relegated to putting out processors that are about half a generation to a full generation behind the cutting edge.

    I personally use AMD products, not because I am a "fanboi" or an underdog devotee. I am fully aware Intel puts out great products and would absolutely recommend them to someone who can make full use of their capabilities. Hell, I don't even know if my next build will be AMD or Intel. I run a Phenom 955 and not a Core i7 920 because I can wait an additional 30 seconds to rip a CD, or am fine with a 3 FPS dip in performance from my favorite game, or any number of minor inconveniences to my time. Just because the benchmarks for an Intel CPU post higher numbers doesn't mean that it's the processor I simply must have, unless the benchmarks in question actually apply to what I am going to do with the rig.

    /end rant
  • 10 Hide
    Kileak , January 10, 2011 10:28 PM
    bsbsbsbs"A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO"


    I propose myself.

    Obviously I have no clue what is implicated in taking over but that don't matter, I can just copy the best business model ever; Apple.

    Roll out old tech in a sleek and nice looking package, of course overpriced to add a touch of "can't afford it so it must be good", make everything proprietary but let other companies make accessories for it, but no upgrades, no. You want more memory? Buy another complete one.

    Rename AMD to MAD and obviously get the MAD tv people to make commercials seeing as it is so fitting.

    There, nothing has even been invented or whatever and I'm sure you're already interested in checking out reviews and pricing for the brand new, 2011, MAD iPaid 32.5gb with 4G running "iP.O.S. 12"

    Obviously this is not going against any copyright / patent laws, and even if it is, everyone that buys into my crap will believe I invented it anyways.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    keplenk , January 10, 2011 9:10 PM
    Oh my! Maybe the name of her EX-Wife is Sandy which made him running scared.

    This could either be a good or bad start for AMD this 2011.
  • Display all 87 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    christop , January 10, 2011 9:16 PM
    I wonder how much he was making a year in pay??
  • 3 Hide
    erdinger , January 10, 2011 9:24 PM
    Well maybe it's a good choice to change a bad weather CEO who pulled AMD out of the dirt in times where AMD has a lot of opportunities for growth with it's new products comming up soon. Maybe another CEO will be able to make more of AMD's good position which might come (we don't have bulldozer benchis so who knows)
  • 7 Hide
    Onus , January 10, 2011 9:37 PM
    Hmmm, that almost sounds like he was fired. I hope poor performance of Bulldozer was not a reason for it.
  • 1 Hide
    cp8427 , January 10, 2011 9:40 PM
    I'm not liking this news. Methinks I'll have to pass on Bulldozer... I'm an AMD fan, but stuff like this kinda implies something must have gone wrong.
  • -7 Hide
    ern88 , January 10, 2011 9:40 PM
    He got fired because Bulldozer is a fiasco.
  • 5 Hide
    erdinger , January 10, 2011 9:57 PM
    The most important thing for Bulldozer wont be the desktop CPU's where sandybringe shines with its new video transcoding fixed function hardware.

    It will be much more important for AMD if it can gain the crown in the Server market. Bulldozer is built for highly threaded performance. If it can compete in the server market AMD is going to do well
  • -6 Hide
    willard , January 10, 2011 10:09 PM
    This is what happens when you consistently fail to grow the company and repeatedly post gigantic losses. Just two years ago they posted a quarterly loss of a whopping $300M. Q2 last year was a loss of $43M, and Q3 was a loss of $118M. They are hemorrhaging money, while their competitors post huge profits. To compare, Nvidia's last three quarters were all positive, $137M, $131M and $77M. Intel's numbers are positively obscene.

    Why is it that people are so attached to AMD? It's got to be some kind of underdog thing, just wanting to see the little guy beat the big guy.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but AMD is just a company. A company that's been playing second fiddle to Intel (and more recently, Nvidia) for a long time. Current AMD processors are a generation and a half behind current Intel processors, and I'd wager damn near anything that Intel will be launching even faster i7 chips long before Bulldozer ever sees the market. If Bulldozer isn't as good as Sandy (and I'm guessing it isn't based on the last couple matchups between Intel and AMD), then they're set up to lose even more money.

    Sometimes you just have to face facts and admit that you've been beaten. AMD seems to have done just this and is doing what they can to try to turn things around. I wish them the best of luck, but I'm not too optimistic.
  • 1 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , January 10, 2011 10:12 PM
    "A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO"

  • 2 Hide
    longshotthe1st , January 10, 2011 10:13 PM
    I love all the speculation from people that think they know what goes on at AMD. My sis works for them in an upper position and she said working there is weird because no one has their own office. Everyone is all in 1 room and she said it's hard to get work done. My guess the CEO resigned/got fired because of his leadership style not jiving with all of the employees.
  • 1 Hide
    bsbsbsbs , January 10, 2011 10:14 PM
    Where's my O RLY link!!!! You wrecked my post!

  • 2 Hide
    ares1214 , January 10, 2011 10:20 PM
    This could either spiral them into closing, or usher in a new era where we see a dominant AMD, who knows. But one thing is for sure, things will change.
  • 10 Hide
    Kileak , January 10, 2011 10:28 PM
    bsbsbsbs"A CEO Search Committee has been formed to begin the search for a new CEO"


    I propose myself.

    Obviously I have no clue what is implicated in taking over but that don't matter, I can just copy the best business model ever; Apple.

    Roll out old tech in a sleek and nice looking package, of course overpriced to add a touch of "can't afford it so it must be good", make everything proprietary but let other companies make accessories for it, but no upgrades, no. You want more memory? Buy another complete one.

    Rename AMD to MAD and obviously get the MAD tv people to make commercials seeing as it is so fitting.

    There, nothing has even been invented or whatever and I'm sure you're already interested in checking out reviews and pricing for the brand new, 2011, MAD iPaid 32.5gb with 4G running "iP.O.S. 12"

    Obviously this is not going against any copyright / patent laws, and even if it is, everyone that buys into my crap will believe I invented it anyways.
  • 5 Hide
    Darkk , January 10, 2011 10:29 PM
    Fire the spammers!!!
  • 4 Hide
    17seconds , January 10, 2011 10:30 PM
    Hmmm, a new $1.5 billion partnership between Intel and Nvidia in one article, and the AMD CEO getting canned in the next article.
  • 4 Hide
    woshitudou , January 10, 2011 10:34 PM
    matto17secsHmmm, a new $1.5 billion partnership between Intel and Nvidia in one article, and the AMD CEO getting canned in the next article.


    That wasn't a partnership. Nvidia hates Intel with a passion and Huang has made them bitter enemies. When AMD switched leadership last time they did awesome so this is very welcoming news.
  • 7 Hide
    woshitudou , January 10, 2011 10:38 PM
    cp8427 I'm an AMD fan, but stuff like this kinda implies something must have gone wrong.


    Not it doesn't imply that at all. Changing your CEO can be the difference between slipping in old shoes or watching strong in new boots. They have a history of changing CEOs at the right time to kick some a**.
  • -1 Hide
    woshitudou , January 10, 2011 10:40 PM
    'walking' strong in new boots.. those walking strong was a good movie to watch
  • 3 Hide
    tpi2007 , January 10, 2011 10:52 PM
    ”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."

    This paragraph says it all, and it's not really that elegant towards the the ex-CEO; they make no hiding ofthe fact that they think they are not where they should. THey say good things about him in the paragraph above this one, but then go on with these non-elegant considerations, which means they are not happy with the way things are going. Not a good sign...
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