AMD CEO Left Over Mobile Strategy Disagreement

With smartphones becoming more and more powerful, the mobile market has become more important than ever for hardware companies. However, it seems disagreements in this area were a contributing factor for the departure of former AMD CEO Dirk Meyer. Reports suggest that the AMD board felt Dirk wasn’t doing enough in the mobile arena.

In a shock announcement earlier this week, AMD announced that CEO Dirk Meyer would be leaving the company. The move was said to be the result of a mutual agreement between Meyer and the AMD board, but later reports citing company sources say a large part of the reason for the now ex-CEO’s departture had to do with AMD's choice not to pursue making chips for the mobile market other than netbooks.

According to Reuters, sources withing AMD say Meyer’s leaving had a lot to do with the board’s discontent with how he handled the mobile market. Apparently Meyer’s late-2010 decision to hold off on microprocessor developments for just a little longer didn’t earn him any fans. Reuters also cites Wedbush analyst Patrick Wang who says board members felt Dirk was leading them down the wrong path.

"Strategically they (the board) didn't feel like Dirk was taking them down the road they wanted to be on. They wanted to be on the Yellow Brick Road toward tablets and smartphones," said Wang.

On Tuesday the AMD Board of Directors appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, 47, as interim CEO following Meyer’s resignation. Seifert will maintain his current responsibilities as CFO and has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO position.

Bruce Claflin, Chairman of AMD’s Board of Directors, has been named Executive Chairman of the Board as he assumes additional oversight responsibilities during the transition period. Claflin this week commended Dirk’s performance during his time as CEO, but said a change in leadership was needed.

"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," he said.

"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."

  • woshitudou
    Cheers AMD, that's the second time the board of directors has kicked some butt. Too bad more boards weren't like that.
  • jimmysmitty
    I can't understand that really. When he came on it wasn't like AMD was doing marvelous. In fact it was quite the opposite. He came on when they had consistent quarterly losses, a falling stock and a CPU that performed worse than the two year old Intel equivalent.

    Its not like he had the ability to say "Hey lets also develop for smart phones and stuff even though our core product is failing us....". He made a hard choice. It was either get AMD moving in the right direction again or go down with the ship.

    I think he made the right choice. He got AMD up and moving with a bit of steam again. In fact when he came on, Bulldozer was all but gone from road maps and he got it to the point of release this year.

    But I guess the BoD wanted him to instead focus on a segment and let their main product portfolio burn.
  • bv90andy
    f*** mobile, maybe do a cpu that can surpass intel and then talk about expanding to other markets.
  • dman3k
    Sure, he got AMD back barely, but at the lose of the bigger picture.

    Everyone knows the computer world is moving to the cloud while people access the cloud with smaller devices such as handhelds. And he sold Imageon to Qualcomm? That's a huge lack of vision!

    Quite frankly, seeing through GF spin-off was an easy task that many could do. But selling Imageon can only be done by someone completely inept.
  • Onus
    Yeah, sounds like they made Dirk take one from behind. I just hope AMD won't dilute their efforts too much now, lose focus, and choke.
  • -Fran-
    Meyer said "let's hold Brazos and let Atom get the nettops/netbooks ground" when he pushed the R&D 2 years, if I recall correctly. I don't know if it was a good or bad call when they were battling bad economy and low rate of success on the x86 ground. You can now tell it was a bad move, but then, the priorities back then were others.

  • yannigr
    The board is wrong. They did stay for too long away from the mobile market but the mobile market is too crowded and AMD is not in a position to offer anything groundbreaking. I am an AMD fan (last Intel cpu was a Celleron 333MHz) but Zacate doesn't show me that they can compete. They have to wait for GF's 28 and 32 nm first. Dirk is an engineer and I think he knows that he can't compete in the smartphone market that's why he stayed away from the mobile market. The same thing happent with netbooks. AMD stayed away and it is making sense. They had nothing to compete Intel. They would have only lose time, money and resources for no good reason.

    The board is reacting like the fans of a football club with 1/10th of the budget of other teams that demands to take the championship. Usually the team doesn't wins the championship and ends up in big disappointment and huge debt.
  • rhino13
    I don't support this change in focus.
    I'm not claiming to know more than the board, but I need AMD to release another great mainstream CPU, like back in the days of the Athlon.

    Without that Intel's just gonna become more and more overpriced.

    I don't see focussing on mobile helping them take Intel.
  • megamanx00
    That board is full of morons. Dirk knew they had to work on their core products and stabilize those before investing in niche products with very slim margins. It's also pretty expensive for a company to let a CEO go and get a new one so it's not something that's done on a whim, no this took alot of foolish thought.
  • Idiots... x86 is worthless for phones, diversifying into ARM is expensive and risky... Besides, there are already way too many players in the ARM business, it would be very hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd on your first attempt(ask Nvidia, re: Tegra 1).