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AMD CEO Dirk Meyer gets the boot

by Scott Bicheno on 10 January 2011, 22:18


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Here's one out of left field: AMD CEO Dirk Meyer has resigned in a ‘mutual agreement' with the AMD board.

The press release goes on to quote Bruce Claflin, executive chairman of AMD's Board of Directors, who will head-up the search for his replacement. "Dirk became CEO during difficult times," he said. "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."

"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."

What he seems to be saying is: "Meyer was fine while everything was going horribly wrong, but now that we're on the cusp of getting our act together we want someone better." We know it's a dog-eat-dog world and all that, but it seems a bit harsh on Meyer to show him the door just when things are starting to get fun.

Still, he did resign, so it was presumably made worth his while to clear off. Furthermore, given the precedent set by HP, which has provided several senior AMD execs, Meyer presumably didn't want to suddenly find himself escorted from the premises on trumped-up charges.

Of course AMD has just launched its Fusion generation of processors, which have generally been well received - especially by makers of ‘thin-and-light notebooks. One analyst even reckons Apple might boot Intel out of its MacBook Air line in favour of Fusion.

The AMD board clearly thinks Meyer, not the most extrovert of CEOs, lacks the personal dynamism to capitalise on this once in a generation opportunity. The fact that he steered the AMD ship though the choppy waters on the way to this point is apparently a matter of indifference to the board.

AMD has put CFO Thomas Seifert in charge as interim CEO, but he's apparently not interested in the CEO role full-time. Let the speculation begin about who will get it...


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