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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
AMD CEO Dirk Meyer Resigns Suddenly

AMD's chief executive resigned on Monday as the company said it was seeking a new CEO to boost the company's growth.

AMD forced out its CEO Dirk Meyer on Monday in a surprise twist of fate for a technologist who inherited the chip maker some years ago, when the company was in tatters, but soon managed to steer it through a turnaround.

AMD's Board of Directors said that it has appointed Senior Vice President and CFO Thomas Seifert, 47, as interim CEO following the resignation of Dirk Meyer as president, CEO and a director of the company.

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

"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."

Much of the reason for Meyer's departure had to do with currents of discontent on the board about AMD's choice not to pursue making chips for the mobile market other than netbooks, an AMD company source told Reuters.

In October, Meyer had told analysts that even though tablets like Apple's iPad were eating into demand for laptops, AMD would hold off on investing to develop microprocessors for that market until it grew more.

The announcement came the same day that AMD's rival Intel announced that it will pay $1.5 billion to Nvidia for a license to all of Nvidia's patents.

Seifert joined AMD in 2009, and has more than 20 years of general management, global operations and financial management expertise. 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," 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."

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