Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices, on Monday resigned from the company. The board of directors in a joint statement implied that Mr. Meyer failed to ensure rapid growth for the company and that a new leader would do it better. The departure of Mr. Meyer marks the second resignation of CEO at AMD in less than two years.
“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. 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,” said Bruce Claflin, the chairman of AMD.
Dirk Meyer resigns from the company after about fifteen years at AMD. Under the leadership of Dirk Meyer AMD developed its first high-end microprocessor – the AMD Athlon – in the late nineties. He became the chief exec of AMD in mid-2008, when Hector Ruiz stepped down after making a series of decision that lead to AMD’s loss of leadership on the server market and resignation of many key people from the former ATI Technologies and also losses on the graphics chips market.
Even though Mr. Meyer succeeded in stabilizing AMD financially, managed to get its roadmap back on track and launched a number of leading-edge products, he still could not make the company profitable. While the exact reasons for the step down are unclear, perhaps, the board of directors wants the new chief exec to make more radical decision than Mr. Meyer did. Still, it is unclear how much more radical it is possible to be: Meyer laid off thousands of people and was one of the driving force behind spinning-off the manufacturing facilities.
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. Thomas Seifert will maintain his current responsibilities as CFO and has asked not to be considered for the permanent CEO position. Mr. Seifert joined AMD in 2009. Immediately prior to joining AMD, Seifert served as COO and CFO of Qimonda AG, where he led the formation and subsequent IPO of the company. At Infineon AG, Seifert served as senior vice president and general manager in its wireless business group.
“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. I believe we have significant opportunities to cement our leadership positions in several key market segments based on the strength of our upcoming products,” said the interim chief executive.
AMD also announced certain preliminary results for the fourth quarter 2010. Fourth quarter revenue increased 2% sequentially to approximately $1.65 billion and gross margin was approximately 45%. In addition, the company reaffirms its 2011 annual financial guidance as disclosed at its financial analyst day last November.