Coup at AMD: Why was Dirk Meyer Pushed Out?
1/10/2011 by: Theo Valich
In a surprising turn of events, Dirk Meyer resigned from his post as the President and CEO of AMD, leaving Thomas Seifert [current Chief Financial Officer] to take over the role as an interim CEO.
We’ll skip the press release talk, since all the political correctness in the world would not prepare for a way how a high-level executive departure is handled. Just remember "Juda’s Kiss" lettering when Hector Jesus Ruiz, former CEO of AMD was ousted from GlobalFoundries - following the insider trading scandal.
Dirk’s departure wasn’t as drastic, but the decision was made only recently, as a set of circumstances caused the shift Qualcomm snapped Atheros and nVidia settled with Intel. For some odd reason, our sources told us that the combination of factors influenced the board to take action and Dirk’s shift at the AMD’s helm was up.
According to one of our sources, who was kind enough to answer the heated line, "Dirk’s departure is culmination of internal struggles between conservative and progressive currents. He lost a pair backers in BoD and that was that."
One of our sources, a former executive within the company was less than kind in his texts: "Dirk touched everything into Gold at DEC. In AMD, everything after K7 turned into Sh*t." When asked to elaborate, we were told that "Dirk and Hector run the company to the ground by selling the family jewlery. Dirk did not believe in Cellphone business and gave everything to BroadCom and Qualcomm. We lost Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and look who is now taking all the deals. Graphzilla." [Graphzilla was the nickname for nVidia on my previous publication, The INQ].
To elaborate, "conservative current" in AMD is currently rooted in Texas and is inside the CPU side of business. "Progressives" or "Canucks" stand for ex-ATI people who started their unstoppable climb inside the corporate stable and took over many of the executive roles and started to turn AMD into an aggressive company as it once were [during the Jerry Sanders reign].
Remember, Dirk Meyer’s three deadly sins were:
1) Failure to Execute: K8/Hammer/AMD64 was 18 months late, Barcelona was deliberately delayed by 9 months, original Bulldozer was scrapped and is running 22 months late
2) Giving the netbook market to Intel [AMD created the first netbook as a part of OLPC project] and long delays of Barcelona and Bulldozer architectures.
3) Completely missing the perspective on handheld space - selling Imageon to Qualcomm, Xilleon to BroadCom
Now, when it comes to Deadly Sin #3 - selling Imageon to Qualcomm didn't just cause AMD to lose Nokia and Motorola as customers. Both companies were Spansion customers as well [NOR Flash] but that's beside the point. The key issue, according to our sources at the time was that Nokia was fighting Qualcomm in courts over patents and their silicon supplier sold the key business unit [for Nokia] to the side which they were battling in court. This also caused that Nokia lost ground on the OpenGL ES development by 14 months - an estimate given to us by a Nokia executive.
Truth to be told, we always believed people like Henri Richard and Dave Orton and more recently, Rick Bergman and Godfrey Cheng [albeit they both might be too young for the role at this point in time] were much more suited for the role of AMD’s CEO than hard-core engineers such as Dirk Meyer. After all, AMD’s "The Future is Fusion" strategy was just a marketing mantra until ex-ATI executives started to fight for the budgets and ultimately take over the Fusion strategy. In turn, they started to create an ecosystem for the architecture, poaching companies from Intel and nVidia camps, such as MotionDSP, for example.
Who is going to be the next CEO of AMD and where Dirk Meyer is going to end? We do have some hints, but cannot disclose any of them at press time. We’ll leave you to discuss, our respected readers.
Some might become global, and some might scale well. Then again, what is that apple doing in an intro image of our story...?
Dirk Meyer, Thomas Seifert, Hector Jesus Ruiz, Hector J. Ruiz, Henri Richard, Dave Orton, David Orton, AMD, CEO, CFO, interim CEO, Godfrey Cheng, Rick Bergman, Atheros, Qualcomm
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