AMD chief Dirk Meyer resigns

Respected engineer Meyer has unexpectedly stepped down from his position at the chipmaker, which has now started recruiting a replacement to help it take on Intel
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

AMD's chief executive Dirk Meyer has resigned and will be replaced by chief financial officer Thomas Seifert while the chipmaker looks for a permanent replacement.

His departure, announced in a statement from AMD on Monday, is effective immediately. Seifert has asked not to be considered to take over as CEO, according to the chipmaker.

AMD Meyer resigns

Dirk Meyer's resignation has surprised AMD analysts. Photo credit: AMD

Meyer, who came from an engineering background, had worked for AMD since 1995 in a variety of roles, including president and chief operating officer. He took the helm of the Sunnyvale, California-based chip company in July 2008, replacing Hector Ruiz and becoming AMD's third-ever chief executive. Ruiz stepped down after AMD went through a series of misfortunes, including the delay of Barcelona, its Opteron-based quad-core server processor.

"Dirk became CEO during difficult times. He successfully stabilised 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," Bruce Claflin, the chairman of AMD's board of directors, said in the statement.

Analysts reacted with surprise to Meyer's resignation, as AMD has been holding steady in its sector. In its fourth-quarter earnings announcement, also released on Monday, the company said its revenue was $1.65bn (£1.06bn), a two-percent increase since the previous quarter.

"To be perfectly honest [his departure is] sudden; I wasn't expecting that, I don't think anyone was," Matthew Wilkins, a principal analyst at iSuppli, told ZDNet UK. "Perhaps the board felt he wasn't taking the company in quite the direction they wanted it to go."

Meyer, who joined AMD to lead the engineering of the AMD Athlon microprocessesor, has more than 40 patents and chip designs to his name, according to AMD. He was involved in the design of both Digital Equipment's Alpha and AMD's Opteron server chips.

"Dirk is a very well respected person," Wilkins said."If you look back at his history, he's been there and done it all the way back to the Alpha, Athlon and Opteron CPUs. From design engineer level up to senior executive, he's got a lot of credibility."

While Meyer resigned, he came under pressure from the company's board to step down, according to sources quoted in a report by The Wall Street Journal. In the report, legendary AMD co-founder and first chief executive Jerry Sanders praised Meyer's performance and criticised the move.

"[The board] just don't understand the business," Sanders said, according to the article. "They are looking for some magic bullet to find a market where they don't compete with Intel."

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